Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has requested the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to take initiatives to make the Bangla bond vibrant.
He came up with the request on October 29 during a virtual meeting with the top-brass of the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund.
The IFC issued its inaugural bond in Bangladeshi taka, raising Tk 80.7 crore, or about $9.5 million on November 11 last year. The bond was listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The IFC had earlier expressed a plan to float $1 billion in Bangla bonds, but the process slowed because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Kamal went on to express the hope that the IFC would take the required measures to boost the Bangla bond. He also asked the lender to help the country's private sector, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 fallout.
"The IFC should reduce the interest rate on its lending to the country's private sector such that businesses can make a turnaround in the quickest possible time," Kamal said in a press release.
The arm of the World Bank will invest the fund, which will be mobilised by issuing Bangla bonds, in the country's private sector.
He sought cooperation from the IFC for the development of fixed-income securities, especially the bond market in Bangladesh. The IFC assured Kamal that it would look into the issues raised by Bangladesh positively, the press release said.
The finance minister thanked the IFC for disbursing $8 billion among its member countries to fight the economic hardship brought on by the deadly virus.
The government is now working on restructuring the financial sector and interest rate capping, said Abdur Rouf Talukder, finance secretary.
The Financial Institutions Division is working on the Solvency Act, the Bank Company Act and the Asset Management Company Act, which will play an important role in restructuring the financial sector, he said.
Three pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh are working to enhance their capability such that they can manufacture Covid-19 vaccines locally within six months after they are invented, Talukder said.
"It is not possible to import all the vaccines to be needed for our huge population. We will have to give utmost importance to producing vaccines locally," he said.
Huge investment will be needed to produce the vaccines and the IFC can provide the support to this end, he said.
Stephanie von Friedeburg, chief operating officer of the IFC, Alfonso Garcia Mora, vice-president for Asia and the Pacific of the IFC, and Mohammad Shafiul Alam, an alternate executive director of the WB, also took part in the meeting.