The Municipal Investment Finance project in Bangladesh took a major step forward after the recent municipal elections. On 7 April 2016, the UNCDF Office in Bangladesh in association with the Bangladesh Municipal Development Fund (BMDF) organized a consultation workshop to discuss prospects of market borrowing by municipalities and other related tools. The workshop was attended by Mayors and Executive Engineers from 10 municipalities selected through a specially designed performance assessment system.
The chief Guest of the event, M. A. Mannan, Hon'ble State Minister for Finance & Planning of Bangladesh stressed the quality of the presentation on the feasibility of municipal borrowing in Bangladesh. The Hon’ble Minister opined that the proposed approach could be used as a tool for mobilizing local resources, and reducing the dependency on foreign resources, particularly loans from multilateral agencies. He requested all municipal representatives to make concerted efforts towards realizing planned and sustainable development that will ensure a better quality of life in all Bangladesh’s municipalities.
Special Guest Md. Eunusur Rahman, Secretary of Bank & Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance, urged the mayors to raise awareness amongst the population to pay municipal taxes, to make the municipality financially self-sufficient, to take up revenue-generating projects, and to control the expenditures. He emphasized that these would create conditions for an effective and credible borrowing by municipalities through municipal bonds or other financial instruments.
Mr. Mohammad Abdul Baten, President of the Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB) was very supportive of the initiative, while highlighting that municipalities need deeper knowledge and information about available financing options.
Looking forward, UNCDF will work with the Bangladesh Municipal Development Fund and these municipalities to enhance their capacity to secure financial resources, through technical support for strengthening financial management and capital investment planning in the immediate future.