May 12, 2022
DHAKA – Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming yesterday told reporters that Bangladesh was not in any Chinese debt trap.
He made the remark after a meeting with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at the foreign ministry.
Debt trap is being widely discussed as Sri Lanka is facing a serious financial crisis. One of the factors that led to the situation in Sri Lanka is its massive debt burden.
Momen said Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were not comparable because the latter’s major source of income came from tourism, which was seriously affected by the pandemic. But Bangladesh’s export and remittance earnings are quite large.
Bangladesh’s remittance earning was over $25 billion even amid the pandemic while its annual export earning is over $40 billion. Bangladesh is in a much better position to repay the loans, he said.
“We are very calculative in terms of foreign loans,” Momen said.
Bangladesh’s major foreign loans are from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and Japan, he said, adding that China’s loans account for only five to six percent of the total foreign loans.
About the crisis in Sri Lanka, the foreign minister said Bangladesh wants restoration of stability in the South Asian island nation.
“We have sent medicines and are considering sending food to Sri Lanka,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh launched a hotline for the Bangladeshis in Sri Lanka.
A foreign ministry official said, “In case of emergency, Bangladeshis in Sri Lanka may contact: 074 215 8750 or 071 240 6313.”