WB: Bangladesh needs no budget support in 2015-16

The World Bank thinks Bangladesh will not need any budget support from the global lender in the fiscal year 2015-16, official sources said.

It is, therefore, uncertain whether the government will receive the Bank’s support in the next fiscal year’s budget.

But the final decision regarding the matter will come at the spring meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington DC in April.

“We had a long meeting with the World Bank officials and discussed about the budget support for the next fiscal year. But at the end of the meeting they (WB officials) categorically stated that Bangladesh would not require any additional budget support for the upcoming fiscal,” said an official at the Finance Division.

The government is now preparing next fiscal year’s budget of about Tk2,91,600 crore with a deficit of Tk77,750 crore without the expected $500m budget support from the World Bank, according to the Finance Division sources who added there would be no problem with resources.

The government, however, wants to make sure the World Bank’s budget support come in the 2016-17 fiscal year, said a Finance Division source. The World Bank’s decision about the budget support in the FY2016-17 will also be known at the spring meeting.

In May last year, after the meeting with the visiting executive director for the World Bank’s South Asia region MN Prasad, Finance Minister AMA Muhith hinted that the government would seek $500m as budget support from the global lender.

“The matter will be discussed briefly on the sidelines of the spring meeting of the WB and IMF,” Muhith said.

He further said Bangladesh had received $2.7bn from the WB in development assistance in the last fiscal year. “In the current fiscal year, it hopes to get $2bn.”

State Minister for Finance MA Mannan told Dhaka Tribune, “We need budget support for the next fiscal year though the World Bank has not showed a positive sign yet regarding this matter.”

He, however, said the National Board of Revenue witnessed above 16% growth in revenue collection till February this year compared to previous year despite blockade and shutdowns.

MA Mannan hoped the World Bank would confirm about the budget support for the FY2015-16 at the next spring meeting.

The WB last provided Bangladesh with budget support of $50m in 2008 to help cyclone Sidr affected families. ADB extended budgetary support credit of $300m this fiscal year.