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IMF, WB now give more importance to BD’s views: Muhith

The IMF and the World Bank now attach greater importance to the views of Bangladesh and other developing countries, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith has said, reports bdnews24.comMuhith
 He was speaking to reporters on the final day of the Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group in Washington DC on Sunday.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s upcoming trip to Bangladesh was another sign of this shift, said the minister.

“World Bank and IMF policy has changed,” he said. “Previously they would attach greater importance to the views of developed countries. Now they listen more attentively to developing countries like Bangladesh and attach more importance to our views.”

He stated that one reason for the change in policy was the organisations’ greater attentiveness to the larger populations of these countries.

“GDP growth has slowed in developed countries. Some are even experiencing negative growth,” he said. “On the other hand, developing countries like Bangladesh have made substantial gains. In the past few years our average GDP growth rate has been over 6.5 percent. Now it is 7 percent. It will grow even faster in the future.”

“This is particularly important because it is the world’s poor who are experiencing the gains from this growth,” he said.

The minister believes that this is why the IMF and World Bank pay greater heed to the opinions of developing countries.

He welcomed the change and said the two organisations were doing the right thing in the global environment, he said.

 

“Now the World Bank prioritises our views whenever they undertake a new project.”

He also believes that the IMF and the World Bank have undergone a change in priorities.

“Now, both the IMF and the World Bank work towards the same goal. Both organisations are working towards the shared goals of development and growth,” he said. “Previously, the IMF would only seem to be a controlling influence on policy.”

When asked what gains Bangladesh had made at the meeting, Muhith said, “As I’ve said before, we are developing at a tremendous pace. What France and Britain could not do in 200 years, we have achieved in 45. Now we play a more important role.”

 

“[WB President Kim] is visiting Dhaka for this very reason. To see the strides we have made in development and in fighting poverty,” he said. “I believe this visit is the most important thing we’ve gained at the meeting.”

The minister said he was also hopeful that Bangladesh would be able to take larger loans from the World Bank.

In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, World Bank promised $1.18 billion help, he said. Since then $1.16 billion had been disbursed. The World Bank office in Dhaka said the amount disbursed in the last fiscal year was more than any previous year.

The finance minister expressed his expectation that the World Bank would provide more support after the end of the current fiscal year.

The minister joined the IMF-World Bank annual meetings in the US capital with a team of 15 delegates from Bangladesh.

The World Bank-IMF Annual Meeting is held outside the US every two years. The 2018 meeting is scheduled to be held in Indonesia.

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