By Mizan Rahman
Bangladesh government yesterday said it has been considering four alternatives for getting funds for Padma bridge and reinstating of the loan agreement with the World Bank (WB) is still the first option for the mega project.
“We’re considering four options – first one is to reinstate the loan agreement with the WB, second one is to implement the project with support from other three development partners and the third one is to implement the project under public-private initiative (PPP),” Finance Minister AMA Muhith told reporters after a meeting with a delegation of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at Secretariat in Dhaka.
The final and the last alternative is to implement the Padma bridge project with own funds, he said.
Reaffirming the government’s decision of starting construction of the bridge within the current fiscal year, the finance minister said the government would take final decision to implement the project with own funds only when the first three alternatives fail.
The minister said the government has taken different steps to convince the WB to reconsider its decision on Padma bridge funding. “We’re talking at different levels to persuade the WB,” he added.
Muhith said JICA is one of the co-financiers of the project and he has requested JICA president to talk to the WB about the bridge project.
“The president of JICA, one of the co-financiers of the project, is now in Washington. He will have a meeting with the WB president,” he added.
About the government’s preparation on building the bridge with own finance, the finance minister said mobilising funds for the mega project would not be a major problem for the government.
He said the size of the current budget is about 2tn taka which is expected to be around 3tn taka over the next three years. The government will have to manage a total of 240bn taka and initially it will be a problem to keep back 80bn taka from a three trn taka budget every year, he added.
“If we want to construct the bridge with own funds, many ministries will have to cut short their expenditures to form the funds for the bridge project,” he added.
About the meeting with CII delegation, the finance minister said Indian entrepreneurs are willing to invest in EPZs and the CII team talked about some incentives for Indian entrepreneurs.
The 14-member high-powered CEOs mission of CII was led by Adi B Godrej, president, CII and chairman, Godrej Group. It is CII’s continuing endeavours to enhance and strengthen bilateral relations and trade ties between India and Bangladesh.
Photo Credit: Internet