DHAKA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Bangladesh should raise spending on infrastructure to $12 billion annually, particularly in energy, transport and ports, development partners have told it, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said on Monday.
Bangladesh currently spends just 3 percent of GDP in this sector.
About 40 representatives of organisations including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union attended a two-day meeting on development issues in Bangladesh.
Muhith told reporters: “Our aim is to raise economic growth to 8.0 percent by 2020 from 6.5 percent now, to become a middle-income country.” He said several new projects would be reflected in the budget for the next fiscal year beginning in June 2016.
Jin Liqun, president-designate of the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, said: “Bangladesh is our new, important member and our aim will be to support it to boost the economy.” But he said Bangladesh needed better infrastructure to achieve industrial growth.
Wencai Zhang, Vice-President of the Asian Development Bank, told reporters the bank would provide $5 billion in assistance to Bangladesh.
The meeting also called on Bangladesh to reduce its dependence on foreign aid, to work more closely with the private sector on major projects and to ensure good governance to maximize the use of resources.
USAID mission director Janina Jaruzelski said Bangladesh must increase substantially its spending on education, currently $3 billion annually, and on providing adequate nutrition to its 160-million population.
“There are several success stories in Bangladesh, but still a lot to be done,” she said. (Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Janet Lawrence)