Proposed Padma Bridge
Govt may write to WB to settle issue: MuhithUnited News of Bangladesh . Dhaka
The finance minister, AMA Muhith, has said the government is considering writing to the World Bank president to settle the pending issue of Padma Multipurpose Bridge project financing.
‘It’s not sure yet whether we’ll write, but a plan is there. A strategy has to be worked out for better results,’ he told reporters at his secretariat office on Thursday after a meeting with the visiting vice-president of the Asian Development Bank, Xiaoyu Zhao.
Apart from the World Bank, the finance minister mentioned, the other co-financiers — the ADB, JICA and the IDB — had no allegation about the Padma Bridge project.
He said all the co-financiers wanted quick settlement of the issue with the World Bank as they remained together on the proposed financing.
About the meeting with the ADB vice-president, Muhith said the ADB had given a positive response to a $1 billion food security programme loan for Bangladesh for three years.
The ministry of finance will prepare the proposal in consultation with other ministries and it would take some time, he added.
Muhith said the relationship of the government with the ADB was always good and there was no problem with it now.
Talking to the reporters, Xiaoyu Zhao said the Padma Bridge project was still active although it was pending. ‘We’re still working with all the parties and this is a very important project, important for the country’s development bringing the country’s transportation together,’ he added.
The ADB vice-president said they would continue support for major infrastructure projects, too.
In August last year, the World Bank postponed its $1.2 billion fund for the $2.9 billion Padma Bridge project on graft allegations.
In January, the institution increased the loan effectuation deadline by six months for the second time.
On Wednesday, the finance minister after a meeting with Li Jun, the new Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh, stressed that the government wanted to finalise the agreement by October this year and started the project work by November, no matter whether the financier was the WB or any country.
The Padma Bridge is one of the main election pledges of the present government.
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