Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Tuesday said Bangladesh has never faltered in repaying loans, be it foreign or domestic, in its 51 years of journey as an independent state.
He also insisted that Bangladesh is one of the least indebted countries as the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio now stands at only 34 percent.
He stated that ADB's cumulative financing in Bangladesh stands at $27.6 billion, of which the total outstanding amount is $11.69 billion and that, Bangladesh continues to repay the debt settlements.
At the very outset of the meeting, the Bangladesh finance minister expressed his sincere appreciation for ADB's consideration of various situations in Bangladesh since its inception.
The finance minister expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation for the active and dynamic leadership of the ADB president in swift response to the unexpected shock of the Covid-19 crisis.
He also said ADB has helped developing member countries including Bangladesh to recover from the economic and health crisis in Asia and the Pacific region by providing quick vaccines and cost assistance.
It is of utmost importance that the Bangladesh-ADB Country Partnership Strategy (2021-2025) is aligned with Bangladesh's national development and goals and it is expected to provide us with $12-15 billion in credit over the next five years, he noted. Highlighting Bangladesh's capabilities and progress, Kamal said, "Under the visionary and prudent leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has made significant progress in all socio-economic indicators.”
However, the Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing geopolitical crisis, food, energy, fertiliser, and financial crises have disrupted global supply chains and fueled inflation around the world, he told the ADB president.
He sought policy-based lending (PBL) necessary in addition to budgetary support from ADB to ensure social and economic resilience.
The finance minister sought special cooperation from ADB in this regard and hoped that Bangladesh would also maintain close contact with the ADB headquarters.
He expected that ADB will play a proactive role in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in Bangladesh, in climate adaptation and mitigation and help distressed people by lowering the risk of disasters.
“I believe that soft loan support will be a more realistic method than mixed financing in fighting the climate change impacts,” the finance minister requested Masatsugu Asakawa.
ADB can also extend support ICT-based entrepreneurship development eying on 4IR, agriculture diversification, health and education and quality agro infrastructure, he suggested.
He invited the ADB president to visit Bangladesh marking 50 years of the Bangladesh-ADB relationship and requested appointing Bangladeshis in the position of vice-president.
Praising Bangladesh’s economic progress and capabilities, Masatsugu Asakawa said building the Padma bridge with its own resources is a symbol of Bangladesh’s capabilities.”
For this, he thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her bold leadership alongside felicitating Bangladesh for successfully facing the health and socio-economic challenges of Covid and the vaccination campaign.
He stated, “From the very beginning ADB has attached a special importance to Bangladesh.” he also assured of seriously considering the issues Bangladesh has placed at the meeting.