Muhith terms talks with WB fruitful

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A delegation led by Finance Minister Muhith went to the US on September 15, the finance minister returned yesterday, although some members of the team had returned earlier.

The delegation attended different programmes in the US including the annual meeting of the WB and IMF. The Bangladesh delegation held bilateral meetings with top officials of various agencies including the WB president.

The delegation also met the Indian finance minister and Chinese vice minister and discussed bilateral issues.

According to the finance minister, the WB and IMF will give $1 billion each as budget support. He said a great achievement is that the amount is condition-free. Only the reform programmes outlined by the government in this fiscal year’s budget will have to be implemented.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on Economic Affairs Mashiur Rahman said China for the first time has waived some loans taken by Bangladesh till 2008. He however did not elaborate on the matter.

Economic Relations Department Secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the amount of Chinese loan to be waived would be $120 million.

India demanded that Bangladesh waive transit fees on river routes. Asked about this, Mashiur spoke in favour of the demand, but the National Board of Revenue (NBR) opposed it.

Mashiur said he himself and the NBR are working for the same government. He added according to the river protocols, Indian ships use Bangladesh river routes for a long time.

However, there were hindrances, but some new obstacles have arisen.

Mashiur said that the restrictions imposed by the shipping ministry and the NBR and said the ships will ply the same route as they did before signing of the India-Bangladesh joint communiqué.

On the imposition of tax by the NBR, he said the decision would be taken after a review that is going on now.

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