Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has called upon the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector lending window of the World Bank Group, to reduce the rate of interest on its loan to help revive the country’s private sector which was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also requested assisting Bangladesh to develop fixed income securities, especially the bond market, and boost ‘Taka Bond’ which remained underrated during the pandemic.
Kamal made the call during a virtual meeting between the IFC delegation and Bangladesh delegation on October 29 on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings 2020 of the World Bank and the IMF, according to a statement issued here.
The minister led the Bangladesh delegation while IFC chief operating officer Stephanie von Friedberg led the IFC delegation.
The IFC delegation assured the finance minister of considering his requests.
Alternate executive director of Bangladesh at the World Bank Mohammad Shafiul Alam, finance division senior secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder, economic relations division (ERD) secretary Fatima Yasmin, IFC’s vice president for Asia and Pacific Alfonso Garcia Mora and IFC country manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal Wendy Warner also joined the meeting.
Kamal praised the role of the IFC in overall development of Bangladesh through providing continued support to the private sector.
Mentioning that Bangladesh is very much eager and pledge-bound to ensure the availability of the Covid-19 vaccines for the countrymen once invented, he sought the due role and support from the IFC in this regard.
Noting that the COVID-19 has put the global economy and human lives on the verge of threat, Kamal said Bangladesh is not out of this impact.
He said the country is poised to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and to become a higher income country by 2041.
Referring to the launching of $9.5 million ‘Taka Bond’ at the London Stock Exchange with IFC support last year, which was supposed to raise $ 1.0 billion in the next one year, Kamal said this could not flourish to such extent due to the pandemic.
He expressed the hope that the IFC would take necessary steps to further boost it.
The finance division senior secretary informed the meeting that they were working on restructuring the financial sector alongside capping the interest rate.
He informed that the financial institutions division has been working on framing some acts like Solvency Act, Bank Company Act and Asset Management Act which would play an important role to restructure the financial sector.
He informed that it would involve a huge amount of fund for ensuring Covid-19 vaccines for all the citizens of the country while three local pharmaceutical companies were working on developing the vaccines.
The meeting also discussed the commitment of $1.6 billion long term financing by the IFC to Bangladesh for the 2017-2021 period as well as their committed $1.1 billion to Bangladesh till June, 2020.