UK to increase annual assistance to Bangladesh

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Dhaka, Jun 18 (UNI) Visiting UK Development Minister Shahid Malik today assured Bangladesh of increasing their annual assistance gradually to 300 million dollar in a couple of years.

The assistance would be increased to 250 million dollar in 2008-09 and 300 million dollar in 2009-10 from 230 million dollar during the current fiscal year, he told mediapersons, after a meeting with Finance and Planning Adviser Mirza Aziz ul Islam at the Planning Ministry.

The assistance is for poverty reduction and economic growth, Mr Malik said, adding the fund would be spent for the basic and priority needs of Bangladesh.

He also apprised that the UK is likely to commit an additional fund of 100 million dollar to contribute to a World Bank managed global fund on climate change, where Bangladesh seems to be on top of consideration.

''Climate change is a very big issue for Bangladesh and it needs to be tackled effectively,'' he said, stressing the need for investment in this sector to reduce the risk of lives and damages.

Dr Aziz said the UK Minister expressed solidarity with Bangladesh's two economic concerns-- food security and climate change--while appreciated budget priorities on economic growth in one hand and social protection on the other.

He was apprised that the UK government would take decision on their contribution to the global climate change fund by end July or early August this year.

''The global initiative to address the climate change issue is just on and preparatory steps are being taken,'' said the Finance Adviser, replying to a question whether he was getting enough commitment from the donors to face the effects of climate change.

Dr Aziz said the UK is not the only country to contribute to the fund, they are only a part of the whole process by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), other multilateral organisations and bilateral donors.

There is a proposal by the British Department for International Development (DFID) to form a Multi-donor Trust Fund in Bangladesh to address the climate change issues, he said.

UNI XC LPB KN2228

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