Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao on Wednesday said ADB is ready to support Bangladesh with the Rohingya crisis and big development projects if requested by the government.
The regional lender also said that it would not change the lending terms for Bangladesh after it graduates to a middle income country.
The visiting ADB president was addressing a press conference at the ADB office in Dhaka on Wednesday.
“We have not had a request from the government about financing the resettlement of the refugees. ADB is prepared to support Bangladesh, if a request is made,” said Nakao.
The ADB president also commended Bangladesh’s handling of the humanitarian crisis that has seen an influx of over 688,000 people from Myanmar since August 2017.
The regional lender also said that they will support Bangladesh in materializing the development projects especially in infrastructure and energy. It also expressed its eagerness to fund transportation in the railway.
Although the ADB president has said that the government has not made a request in this regard either.
Currently, the ADB has funded the Dhaka Metro Rail and Chittagong Cox’s Bazar road projects.
ADB’s Country Partnership Strategy for Bangladesh proposes total assistance of $8 billion, including for non-sovereign operations, during the period 2016–2020, 60% up from $5 billion in 2011–2015.
In 2016-2017 ADB approved $2.5 billion in sovereign and $600 million in non-sovereign assistance.
“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.
“We are supporting the railways, highways and rural roads and also urban public transports where only 4% of passengers use the railways in the country.
“Bangladesh needs to ensure quality and speed of the trains and better services to make it popular,” said Takehiko Nakao.
He added that ADB would also continue to invest in primary and secondary education along with technical and vocational training to help the large young population better prepare for quality jobs. One important priority is to provide science and technology education especially for female students.
The ADB president has lauded Bangladesh for its progress in reducing poverty and in many ways. It also promised to continue it support to Bangladesh after graduating to a middle income country.
“Bangladesh has been making progress and growing in many ways, including in macroeconomic, inflation, foreign exchange reserves.
“Bangladesh is no more a low income country. It is already lower middle income country and within the middle income category as per the ADB system. We are providing a mix of concessional loans at lower interest rate, which is lower than the market rate.
“So, at this moment, there is no idea of changing the lending terms to Bangladesh,” Takehiko Nakao said.
In replying to a question, he said: “I will say, it is too early to worry about the impact of graduation from LDC to Middle Income Country status.”
The development partner also urged the government to invest in infrastructure and technology to keep up with the world.