Participants in a webinar on Tuesday urged the government to be more careful about the risk of loans as the trend of loans has gone up following the coronavirus pandemic, LDC graduation and SDGs indexes.
They made the call in the virtual meeting titled “The Multilateral Response to Covid-19 – Perspectives from South Asia” organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in partnership with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), India; Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan; Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS), Sri Lanka; and South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), Nepal.
Distinguished Fellow of CPD Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya summarised the discussion on multilateral development finance, which is currently under great stress, facing a highly ambitious global development agenda, and a simultaneous need to cope with the impact of global challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic that could undo years of hard-won development progress.
The macro-economist said Bangladesh must be more careful from the risk of loans as the trend of loans has gone up from international organisations due to several reasons.
“The amount of debt is 38 percent of the total gross domestic product (GDP) in Bangladesh. It has risen due to overcoming the COVID-19 impact. We spend only six percent of the debt annually,” he added.
Debapriya Bhattacharya said the demand for finance increased in Bangladesh because of various reasons, including LDC graduation.
“Bangladesh needs huge money to achieve the indexes of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). So, the government should compare it that we would take money from which sources,” he added.
Expressing variations in economics in South Asian countries, he said Bangladesh will go in individual loans by the next 8-10 years from the existing multilateral finance.
Rehman Sobhan, founder of CPD, said there is more unused money than loans in Bangladesh. “So, it should be utilised in the right ways,” the noted economist said.
Eminent economist AB Mirza Azizul Islam, CPD’s Distinguished Fellow Professor Mustafizur Rahman, economists from different countries also spoke in the virtual meeting.