ERD report reveals
Bangladesh received $7.106 billion as foreign aid from its donor groups during fiscal year 2020-21, its second highest amount in external assistance in a fiscal year.
This was noted from the latest report from the Economic Relations Department (ERD) of the Ministry of Finance.
The highest was recorded during FY2019-20, when the foreign fund rebate amounted to $7.27 billion.
In FY2018-19, the total foreign aid was $6.54 billion.
Not only that, in addition to this huge cash injection in the recently-concluded fiscal year, the government has also promised to receive more money from donors for future development activities.
However, the $7.106 billion which Bangladesh received was $310 million, or 4.35% lower than their target, which they estimated at $7.41 billion.
But as a silver lining, the country also managed to get pledges of 55% additional funds for their future development projects.
According to the ERD report, of the $7.106 billion, $6.77 billion was in the form of loan assistance, and the remaining $334.2 million as grants.
The report also said that the government has managed to take pledges from its donor organizations to send $9.35 billion more as foreign aid in future, of which $8.68 billion would be loan assistance and the remaining $673.6 million would be grants.
The target for raising pledges in FY21 was $6 billion, but $9.55 billion in FY20.
Meanwhile, in FY21, the government repaid $1.91 billion of its foreign assistance to its donors.
The government's net foreign assistance for FY21 amounted to $5.2 billion.
According to ERD sources, the report was prepared for an emergency meeting of the ERD on July 25.
They also said that foreign aid agreements are mainly against development projects.
If the implementation of these projects can be increased, the assistance will also increase, they further said.
Again, if the implementation is less, the amount of aid also decreases.
Meanwhile, the implementation of the development project has been hampered due to the Covid-19 pandemic for two consecutive fiscal years, which is why the targets were not achieved.
In this regard, Peer Mohammad, chief additional secretary of the ERD's Asian Development Bank (ADB) Division, told the media that mainly due to the negative impact of Covid-19 in the last financial year, especially in the mega projects, foreign consultants are having difficulty in joining the work.
Due to this the pace of implementation of the project is slowing down, he also said.
As a result, foreign fund injection is not being done as per the set target. However, the amount is not entirely bad, compared to the given situation, he added.