Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman will meet the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank (WB) in Washington in the middle of this month to discuss matters relating to the disbursement of the fourth-tranche fund worth US $150 million under the WB's Development Support Credit (DSC).
"The minister will spell out various reforms in the governance systems before the WB board in the bank's headquarters to convince its members of the need for expediting the process for disbursement of the WB credit under the DSC IV," a top official of the Ministry of Finance told the FE Thursday.
The WB Country Director in Bangladesh Christine I Wallich met with the Finance Minister at the latter's office on the day and inquired about the reforms in the governance systems which the government pledged to undertake under the DSC credit, the official said
Sources said adjustments of petroleum and natural gas prices to close the gap between local prices and import costs for reducing losses of the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) and also of household and industrial power tariff rates are among the policy actions stipulated under the DSC-related reforms.
Improving billing and collection systems of the Power Development Board (PDB) and addressing the problem of power shortage by bringing in private power producers through a transparent and competitive bidding process are among the actions to be undertaken under the DSC of the WB.
The WB has also pointed out the urgency to strengthening various government institutions including the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to ensure good governance and check corruption.
Furthermore, the government will be required to carry out reform programmes in the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and nationalised commercial banks (NCBs) for disbursement of the fourth-trance fund under the DSC.
"It will be difficult for the government to raise the fuel price again," the Finance Minister told the newsmen after Thursday's meeting with the WB Country Director in Bangladesh.
He was also critical of the overheated price of gasoline in the international market and said the government will have no alternative to raising gasoline prices if the trend in the price hike in the international market continues.
Saifur also criticised the Middle East countries for not extending cooperation to Bangladesh for its importing fuel on deferred payment.
UNB adds: Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman Thursday said the country's macroeconomic stability has come under "severe challenge" due to mounting pressure on oil price in the international market.
"Corporate sector borrowing because of oil price will put pressure on the government and also on the financial sector," he told reporters at his Secretariat office, explaining the challenge of the economy.
The Finance Minister voiced the fear after a meeting with World Bank Country Director Christine I Wallich, ahead of his forthcoming visit to Washington.