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Budget support from WB sought

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Staff Reporter
Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Tuesday said the government has sought budget support from the World Bank citing its outstanding overall economic performances.
The Finance Minister made the request when visiting World Bank Vice President for South Asia Philippe Le Houerou met him at his secretariat office.
“We’ve doubled the budget size in the last five years that never happened before in the country. We’ve also raised our revenue earnings 2.5 times in the last five years. So, recognizing these performances, I’ve requested the World Bank Vice President that you should give us budget support,” Muhith said.
He, however, did not mention the amount of the budget support that he had sought from the World Bank.
Replying to a query, the Finance Minister said that the World Bank Vice President had assured him of taking a move in this regard.
Mentioning that budget support does not come so easy, he said there would be reforms in various sectors like banking and in social security including in food distribution system.
Muhith said that seeking budget support from the development partners is nothing new as the government had last received such support from the ADB. He mentioned that last time the government had received about $ 300 million as budget support from the IDA of the World Bank.
About the reforms in the baking sector, the Finance Minister said there has been a lot of progress in this sector and it has also expanded for which it requires reforms.
In this connection, he said there would be more discussions to this end between the World Bank and Bangladesh.
Muhith hinted that the power of the Ministries for approving the ceiling of projects and ceiling of procurements would likely increase before the budget of the next fiscal, but did not mention to what extent.
About the state of the Padma Bridge project, he said the award of contract for the main bridge construction would be given by this June or July while the award of contracts for two other works -- river training and consultancy -- would be given by 2014.
The Finance Minister said that the World Bank is being diverting its fund of $ 1.2 billion, committed earlier to the Padma Bridge project, to primary, secondary and higher education and some other projects.
He said that the government has now no problem with the World Bank as it was resolved back in February 2013 when the government withdrew its funding request from the World Bank.

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