Bangladesh gets $1.45b foreign aid in Q1

It’s 55pc higher than same previous period

Bangladesh received foreign assistance amounting to $1.45 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of the current fiscal, 2020-21, nearly 55 percent higher than that in the same period of the previous fiscal, officials said.

They said Japan provided handsome budgetary support toward making the country’s economy, hit by the coronavirus pandemic, recover.

In the same period of FY 2019-20, the overseas development partners disbursed $931.04 million worth of assistance to Bangladesh, according to the Economic Relations Division (ERD) data. 

In the FY 2020, the government received a total of $7.3 billion worth of foreign aid from the development partners.

A senior ERD official said Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) alone disbursed a record highest $555.41 million worth of assistance including the budget support in Q1 of the current fiscal.

Besides, other major development partners including the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and China also disbursed medium-and long-term (MLT) loans and grants, he said.

The World Bank disbursed $329.65 million worth of assistance during the first three months of the current FY2021 while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) disbursed $201 million and China provided $246.37 million during the time, he added.

Out of the total $1.45 billion worth of foreign aid, the development partners released $1.38 billion worth of loans and $60.3 million worth of grants during Jul-Sep period, the ERD data showed.

Meanwhile, the foreign aid commitment was lower during the Q1 in the current FY2021.

The development partners made $797.47 million worth of foreign assistance commitment during the first three months of the current FY2021, the ERD provisional data showed.

In the same period last FY2020, the foreign donors and lenders confirmed $2.02 billion worth of aid.

Out of the total $797.47 million aid commitment, the development partners had confirmed $636.87 million in loans and $160.6 million in grants during Jul-Sep period this fiscal.

A senior ERD official said, “Since a big Chinese loan (nearly $1.0 billion) deal was signed in early last FY2020, so the commitment was showing higher compared to that in the same period this FY2021."

But no such big chunk of foreign aid deal is yet to be signed during this FY2021 resulting in a weaker balance sheet in MLT loans and grant commitment in the government accounts, he added.

The ERD official said, “Although commitment has been showing a downward trend in the first few months, it will pick up in the last half of this fiscal.”

Meanwhile, the government has serviced debt worth $ 508.25 million against the total MLT loans during July-September period this FY2021.

It repaid $351.48 million principal and $156.77 million worth of interest against the outstanding external MLT loans, according to the ERD.

In the same period last FY2020, it serviced debt worth a total $495 million. Of it, $351.61 million principal and $143.58 million interest was repaid against the outstanding external MLT loans.