The government's economic diplomacy policy appears to be paying off as is exemplified in the new investment offers of the development partners.
The domestic political spectrum is also relatively quiet these days with volatility taking a back seat and a sense of political stability has set in across the country reviving up the confidence of the development partners. At the same time, the government has also pulled up its efforts to narrow down the existing gap with the development partners.
This was confirmed by the Planning Commission.
According to the State Minister of Finance, commitments from development partners have doubled in the first three months of the current fiscal year compared with that of the last year.
State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan thinks that the government's interaction with different development partners has increased. Especially the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Japan International Cooperation Assistance (JAICA) have increased their assistance funds.
He said, "Many developed countries like Japan, China, Russia and EU countries, side by side with investing, are making commitments for giving soft term loans. Bilateral agreements with many of these have already been signed."
But because of inefficiency of different offices and agencies of the government it has not been possible to use foreign funds judiciously.
After the allegation of corruption in Padma Bridge project was made in 2010 the government's gap with development partners started to increase, which was further widened by political instability in the country. At that time WB, IMF, ADB and JAICA cancelled agreements one after another. Despite taking repeated initiatives it was not possible to hold meeting of Bangladesh Development Forum. Finance Minister AMA Muhith is now in New York to attend general assembly of the WB and the IMF. There Muhith held bilateral meetings with several development partners. All have committed to increase their assistance. Besides, all have agreed for BDF meeting soon.
State Minister for Finance and Planning said, "The government is making efforts to increase development assistance and recover its image. It is expected that there will be a BDF meeting this year. Development partners and countries will give more commitments. Besides, he thinks the present rate of foreign assistance is better than any time in the past."
Economic Relations Division (ERD) sources said foreign assistance in the current fiscal year will exceed US$600 crore which is $200 crore more compared with last year. In four fiscal years between 2009-2013 the government signed foreign fund assistance agreement for $1,964 crore 20 lakh which is 110.5 per cent more compared with the preceding four fiscal years.
The WB has said in the current fiscal year the agency will provide $2.8 billion worth of assistance. Japan will provide $1.2 billion and ADB will give $1.5 billion. Besides, other development partners including China, Saudi, Kuwait, UN, and EU also have increased their commitments.
The former Finance Adviser Dr AB Mirza Azizul Islam told The Daily Observer, "Following January 5 election the government has been making efforts to get support of the people of the world. The government has also succeeded to some extent in this respect. Nearly all development partners including ADB, IMF, WB and countries are working with the government with positive attitude."
At long last the WB, ADB and IMF have said that at the end of the current fiscal year it will be possible to achieve more than six per cent growth.