Muhith urges dev partners to stand by govtStaff Correspondent
Finance minister AMA Muhith on Monday urged the country’s development partners to review the World Bank decision of scrapping the US$1.2 billion credit for the Padma Bridge project.
Muhith, who had a closed door meeting with representatives of the Local Consultative Group, told reporters that he had requested them to stand by the Bangladesh government on this critical issue.
LCG comprises 39 bilateral donors and multilateral agencies like WB, Asian Development Bank, Japan International Coperation Agency and the United Nation.
The finance minister reiterated that the WB decision of canceling the credit programme on alleged corruption was unacceptable.
The meeting was held at the office of the economic relations division on Monday afternoon.
The World Bank, however, was not represented at the meeting.
ERD secretary Iqbal Mahmood, who is co-chair of the LCG along Neal Walker, the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, presided over the meeting.
The finance minister said, ‘I wanted to explain at the meeting what I stated in the assembly and asked them to stand by us.’
Padma bridge was a prestigious project for the country and the WB action has undermined the country’s image, he pointed out.
‘We want the World Bank to review its decision,’ he said, urging the donor representatives to review the WB action with regard to the project.
Emerging from the meeting, Neal Walker told reporters that they had learnt the overall development about the project from the government.
He did not disclose whether they had stated the position of the LCG.
Meeting sources said the UN representative spelt out their stance of ‘zero tolerance’ to corruption at the meeting.
The cancellation of the WB credit line for the Padma bridge has put the government in an embarrassingly tight corner.
The World Bank’s withdrawal cast uncertainty to the much-vaunted project which was a major election pledge of the ruling party.
The government meanwhile tried to find out alternative sources of funds. The Malaysian government has submitted a proposal for funding the project which is still under review.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday told in parliament that construction of the mega project would begin soon by mobilising internal resources.
She said the government would spend a total of Tk 22.55 thousand crore on the project after the World bank pulled out of its loan commitment recently over perceived corruption.
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