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Muhith: WB chief wants support for Rohingyas to come as grants

  • Published at 06:32 pm October 13th, 2018
Web_Rohingya-camp-Cox's Bazar- syed zakir hossain
File photo of a Rohingya camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

At least 700,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh fleeing the violence which erupted in Myanmar on August 25, 2017

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim wants that all support for Rohingyas should come in the form of grants, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said.

The minister said the World Bank president has already talked to donors about sending support to Bangladesh for Rohingyas as grants, reports the BSS.

He made the statement talking to reporters at the Westin hotel in Bali, Indonesia on Saturday about the outcomes of his engagements at the Annual Meetings 2018 of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Alternate Executive Director of Bangladesh to the World Bank M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Senior Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) Kazi Shofiqul Azam and ERD Additional Secretary Mahmuda Begum were also present at the briefing.

At least 700,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh fleeing the violence which erupted in Myanmar on August 25, 2017.

Talking about his meeting with Jim Yong Kim, Muhith said the World Bank chief would make all the necessary arrangements so that Bangladesh gets all the support from  donors as grants for the Rohingyas.

He said the World Bank has been requesting everyone to give grants to Bangladesh to support the forcibly displaced Rohingyas. 

“They [World Bank] are insisting Kuwait, Sweden, UAE, and Germany give their support to Bangladesh as grants” he said, adding that Jim Yong Kim lauded Bangladesh’s performance in poverty reduction.

Muhith thanked the World Bank president for the nearly $500m in grants for the Rohingyas.

The finance minister also said the government would invite the officials concerned from UAE, Kuwait, Sweden, and Germany to visit Bangladesh for discussions.

Asked about the freshly sought $4.5bn IDA assistance from the World Bank, he said the government has already materialized the earlier committed $4.5bn in just two years under a three-year program.

“We expect that we shall have at least $2 billion support afresh, although we have sought $4.5 billion before the World Bank,” he added.

Muhith said an estimated amount of $1bn is required for Rohingyas in two years and the development partners, including the World Bank and the ADB, have already announced $680mn in this regard.

About his participation at the Climate Finance Ministerial Meeting, he said: “We began climate financing from our own budget and we have been continuing to do this long before the world thought of it.” 

On his participation at the Development Committee Plenary, he said that currently some 30 countries in the world are in debt vulnerability while Bangladesh is now much better than most of the countries in the world in this regard.

“We have no debt vulnerability as we are very much concerned in this regard,” he added.

About a carbon tax, the finance minister said: “We have almost stopped emission of carbons like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as we have more or less eliminated CFCs from the country as the refrigerators do not emit CFCs now… emission control is very strong in both public and private sectors in Bangladesh.”

Responding to another question on the ongoing US-China trade war, Muhith said there could be an impact, he said.

“We do not want the equilibrium to be disturbed,” he added.

Earlier in the morning, the finance minister attended the High-Level Breakfast Meeting organized by the Asia and the Pacific Department (APD) of the IMF.

Meanwhile, ERD Senior Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam said the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will come up with bidders funding for a new fertilizer factory in Bangladesh.