Foreign aid disbursements increased by 58 percent in July-April of the current fiscal year thanks to spending on vaccinations, one-off budget support and the implementation of mega-projects, including the Rooppur nuclear power plant funded by Russia.
Development partners disbursed $7.71 billion, up from $4.86 billion in the previous fiscal year, according to data from the Economic Relations Division (ERD).
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That was the fastest growth since fiscal 2017-18, when it rose 74 percent year-on-year to $6.1 billion, according to Bangladesh Bank data.
Despite the SWIFT ban, Russia provided the fourth largest loan at US$1.05 billion, much of which was spent on the Rooppur plant.
The Rooppur facility will cost Tk 113,092 crore while Tk 51,292 crore has been spent up to April this financial year.
The project is about 46 percent complete in April, the best performance among mega projects this year. Progress is on schedule, with the first unit due to open by 2024 and the second unit by 2025.
The project had fallen into uncertainty following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting Western sanctions against Russia.
The project is being built under a construction and financing agreement with the Russian state agency Rosatom, which is responsible for 76 percent of global nuclear technology exports.
No funds come from Russia, but equipment and technology, the values of which are counted as expenses for the construction of the nuclear power plant.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) topped the fund’s payout list with $1.99 billion.
A Treasury official said the Manila-based development lender has already disbursed about $1 billion in support for the Covid-19 vaccination.
She has also paid almost all of her domestic help for this financial year, increasing the total.
Japan has become the second largest provider of financial assistance with $1.7 billion.
ERD officials say several Japanese-funded mega-projects, including the Dhaka Metro, Matarbari Port and coal-fired power plant project, are in full swing following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
The third highest lender is the World Bank, which has disbursed $1.16 billion.
The World Bank has disbursed a significant amount of funds to support efforts to combat the pandemic along with regular loans.
According to officials, the World Bank fund was not used much at first. But it has rallied lately and the government has spent much of the fund in support of Covid-19.
Bangladesh has set itself the ambitious goal of receiving US$12.98 billion in foreign aid from development partners in the current fiscal year.
But the ERD could cut the allocation target by $1.5 billion in the revised budget because use of the funds has been less than expected. Bangladesh spent about US$3-3.5 billion annually from 2013-14 to 2016-17.
Spending on foreign funds has exceeded $7 billion per year since fiscal 2018-19.
At the same time, aid pledged by development partners increased 11 percent year-on-year to $5.89 billion at the end of April.
In addition, the principal and interest payments for foreign loans are increasing. From July to April this year, $1.75 billion was repaid. At the same time last year, it was $1.6 billion.