DHAKA : Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakaoon Wednesdaysaid ADB is ready to support Bangladesh to address the Rohingya crisis, if it is requested, reports UNB.
“ADB is prepared to support the country, if there is a certain request,” he said at a press conference at the ADB office in the city.
He commended Bangladesh’s handling of the humanitarian emergency that has seen an influx into its borders of over 688,000 people from Myanmar since October 2017.
Replying to a question whether ADB consider a certain amount to finance the relocation of Rohingya people to Bashanchar, an island in Noakhali district, the ADB President said they have not received any concrete request about the financing the settlement of the refugees. He said ADB is ready to increase its financial assistance to Bangladesh. “We are ready and prepared to continue increasing our lending (to Bangladesh),” he added.
The ADP President said ADB’s Country Partnership Strategy for Bangladesh proposes total assistance of US$ 8 billion, including for non-sovereign operations, during the period 2016-2020, 60 percent up from US$ 5 billion in 2011-2015. In 2016-2017 fiscal year, ADB approved $ 2.5 billion in sovereign and $ 600 million in non-sovereign assistance, he said.
Nakao said the ADB is committed to support infrastructure development of Bangladesh in the energy, transport and urban sectors and will support the government’s efforts by providing additional resources depending upon need, performance of ongoing projects and readiness of new projects.
“ADB remains committed to supporting infrastructure development in the energy, transport and urban sectors to help Bangladesh promote private investment, attract foreign direct investment and boost growth further,” said Nakao.
Noting that the transport is among the important financing areas in Bangladesh, he said, “We’re supporting the railways, highways and rural roads and also urban public transports.”
Mentioning that only four percent of passengers use the railways in the country, he suggested Bangladesh needs to ensure quality and speed of the trains and better services to make it popular.
In reply to a question if the ADB will finance the second Padma Bridge, he said the lender is ready to finance the big projects if it is requested.
Acknowledging Bangladesh’s impressive economic and social development over the last decade, the ADB President said the high economic growth has enabled Bangladesh to attain middle-income status in July 2015 and helped cut poverty from about 49 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2016.
He said the growth in these 10 years averaged about 6.3 percent and reached 7.3 percent in 2017.
“Its reserve is going up and inflation is controlled.So, the overall the country has made very steady progress in terms of growth.”
Nakao said right now ADB has no plan to change lending terms for Bangladesh though it is already a lower-middle income country.
He focused on increasing the tax-GDP ratio as Bangladesh needs more money to invest the infrastructures.
ADB President Takehiko Nakao arrived hereon Mondaylast on a three-day visit to Bangladesh.
He met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Finance Minister AMA Muhith and other senior officials during his visit.
In the meetings, Nakao reiterated ADB’s support to the government to formulate a comprehensive plan for developing an economic corridor in the southwest region to diversify economic activities, ensure regionally balanced development, and open opportunities for enhanced regional cooperation and integration in South Asia and beyond.
He visited selected ADB-assisted projects in Bangladesh including Ashuganj power plant, a secondary school in Bhairab, urban infrastructure improvement activities in Narsingdi, and railway improvement in the Dhaka-Chittagong corridor. ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash was present at the press conference.