Invest in big projects, Muhith urges WB

Rezaul Karim: Bangladesh Finance Minister AMA Muhith expressed his hope that the World Bank would invest in prospective big projects in Bangladesh, forgetting about the previous bitterness involving the Padma Multipurpose Bridge project.

“We hope that like Japan and China, the WB will finance big projects like Padma Bridge in Bangladesh,” he said here today, adding that his government has started the Padma Bridge works on its own after having a stalemate over the project with the WB.

The finance minister was talking to a group of journalists after attending the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which concluded in the US capital Sunday. Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr. Atiur Rahman was among others present.

Mr Muhith said the WB is willing to enhance its supports for the development of Bangladesh.

“Now our ability to implement projects is much higher than before. As a result, the development partners disbursed US$3.0 billion worth of funds last fiscal year, out of which the WB alone provided $1.4 billion,” he said.

Such an increased funding from the WB indicates that the Bank’s ‘no’ to financing the Padma bridge project has not created any adverse impact on its investment in Bangladesh, the finance minister observed.

The multilateral funding agency under its present country-assistance strategy (2011-14) has pledged $4.5 billion for Bangladesh, Mr Muhith said, expressing the hope that WB’s support would reach $5.6 billion in future.

“We want to forget the impasse with the WB with regard to the Padma Bridge project. Now it is a dead issue,” he said.

Mr Muhith noted that there is no denial of the fact that the WB is the largest development partner of Bangladesh.

The BB governor said Bangladesh and its economy were advancing gradually although the global expansion was under pressure, especially in the Euro zone.

“Bangladesh is advancing newly and nicely toward further development. The country could be able to fight against economic turmoil. It has many success stories,” he said.

The World Bank and the IMF in annual meetings have evinced positive opinions on Bangladesh for achieving success in different sectors, he told the journalists. The Managing Director of the IMF lauded progress made by Bangladesh in different sectors, especially economic inclusion and stable growth and mobile banking, Dr. Atiur said.

“We were being able to present our positive image in the annual meetings. The IMF thinks that Bangladesh has achieved a lot in various sectors. For this, they should stand beside Bangladesh for further advances,” the governor said.

“Bangladesh needs large-scale investment at present. I hope that they will extend their hand to our country. Besides, Bangladesh has become global gender-equity leader,” he also said.

Meanwhile, the role of Bangladesh was praised at a seminar on women empowerment held on the concluding day of the three-day meetings of the twin Bretton Woods institutions.


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