ADB to follow WB
JICA to consult its govt over Padma fundingStaff Correspondent
The Asian Development Bank on Monday said it would cancel its loan to the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, but the Japan International Cooperation Agency said it would consult its government and apprise it of the decision of the co-financiers before it makes a decision.
The ADB and JICA, major co-financiers of the bridge project, expressed their views a couple of days after the WB scrapped its $1.2 billion loan because of alleged corruption in the multibillion dollar
They, along with the Islamic Development Bank, another co-financier, have to follow the WB which is the main coordinator of the lender-driven project.
They had to follow the WB when it first suspended release of fund on the same allegation of corruption last October, stalling the progress of the project for the last 10 months.
Government officials said that the IDB, the Jeddah-based lender, is likely to cancel its committed $140 million loan because of the nature of the joint-venture project.
The ADB in a statement on the day expressed its inability to continue its loan of $610 million, saying it had to follow the WB’s decision. It said it respected the reasons that have led the WB to cancel the loan.
‘ADB and the World Bank follow similar policies, rules and procedures on governance and fiduciary oversight,’ said the ADB’s statement.
Both ADB and JICA, however, expressed regret for the current situation which has dealt a blow to the much-needed bridge project, which is indispensable for bringing the less developed south and southwestern regions, having almost one fifth of the country’s population, into the mainstream economy.
The ADB said that it deeply regretted that both the WB and the government of Bangladesh were unable to reach a workable agreement to move the project forward.
Meanwhile, finance minister AMA Muhith has called upon the WB to review its decision.
He told reporters on Sunday that the government would wait for a review in its bid to revive the loan for the rail-cum-road bridge over the River Padma.
An official of the WB in Dhaka told New Age on Monday that chance of a review by the WB of a project cancelled by itself was nearly nil.
The official suggested that both the WB and the government of Bangladesh should strike a fresh deal on the bridge project if they can agree on the terms and conditions.
Cancellation of the loan by the WB has poured cold water on the government’s hope to start construction of the bridge before January 2014, when elections will be held.
The government, frustrated by the delay in fund release by the WB, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Malaysia for the bridge project, construction of which was one of the major election pledges of the ruling party. But many, including the finance minister, doubt the viability of the Malaysian proposal.
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