Development partners stand by Bangladesh

Hasibul Aman

8th April, 2020 09:43:04 printer

Development partners stand by  Bangladesh

Bangladesh has started receiving tremendous positive response from major development partners, who came up with financing to help Bangladesh combat the COVID-19 and strengthen its national health system.

The major development partners have already announced their commitment to provide funds in the Covid-19 Emergency Response plan and roll out nationwide to help upgrade health facilities in Bangladesh to support screening coronavirus patients in Bangladesh.

The government is seeking funds from development partners to help the health ministry combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Immediately after the outbreak of the coronavirus in Bangladesh, the government sent proposal to its development partners, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, the government of Japan is seeking funds to help the health ministry combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Long-time trusted development partners the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have already announced for important financial support to help Bangladesh fight the pandemic. 

Another important partner Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is also mulling to extend support with regard to COVID-19 through an international consortium, officials at Economic Relations Division (ERD) informed.

The World Bank April 3 approved a fast-track $100 million financing to help Bangladesh prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and strengthen its national systems for public health emergencies.

“The World Bank is working closely with the Government of Bangladesh to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $300,000 emergency grant to support the Bangladesh government's fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The grant will support procurement of health safety materials including personal protective gears, N95 masks, safety googles, aprons, thermometers, and biohazard bags. The list has been prioritized by the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh.

The grant will be part of the bank's regional support to address the coronavirus outbreak, as well as "potential outbreaks of other communicable diseases."

The Manila-based lender ADB will also additionally support of $1.34 million for the ongoing training under Skills for Employment Investment Programme (SEIP).  The SEIP is providing sector-focused and job-ready skills training through partnerships with public institutes, industry associations and other rganisations, covering skills requirements in 10 industry sectors.

Under the financing plan, each of the 22,619 current trainees, who may have to face a prolonged lockdown due to COVID-19, will get Tk 5,000 as one-time assistance, said ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused adverse impacts on the trainees’ livelihood and this assistance will help the trainees to continue their training as they are from poor households and chances of their dropping out are high due to the prolonged COVID-19 lock down,” Parkash said. 

Besides, the agency is also working on to provide larger support to Bangladesh on health and financial sectors, ERD officials said.

 On the other hand, ERD completed negotiations with the World Bank for its $100 million fast-track loan on Tuesday (March 7). The money will be utilised for COVID-19 Emergency Response Project under the ministry of health and family welfare. 

“We’ve already completed loan negotiations with the World Bank. Its board of directors will complete the loan approval process by next week,” said an ERD official dealing with the matter. However, he said approval of the project proposal and the loan signing from Bangladesh part might be delayed because of the ongoing countrywide shutdown.

The World Bank might consider more financial support, if Bangladesh put forward further demand, according to WB officials in Dhaka.

The global lender already declared a $12 billion support package for novel coronavirus for its member countries across the world.

The Washington-based agency is now focused on assessment of economic losses that Bangladesh is going to face due to spread of COVID-19 in the country, which will be reflected in its latest Bangladesh Update to be published in the mid of April.

Even though JICA has not yet made any formal declaration of financial support, it is likely to extend support to Bangladesh through an international consortium, ERD officials informed.