Talks with US, UK, India before seeking WB review: MuhithStaff Correspondent
The finance minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, on Tuesday made U-turn saying that the government was likely to ask the World Bank to review the cancellation of loan for the Padma bridge project.
He said that Bangladesh would ask for the review after it would consult the United States, the United Kingdom, India, the Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Coming out of a meeting with the deputy commissioners at the secretariat on Tuesday evening, the minister told reporters that the United Kingdom, the United States and India had requested the World Bank to settle the issue of the cancellation of the loan for project.
The World Bank which had suspended the release of the $1.2 billion loan for the project for almost a year finally scrapped the deal on June 29 because over allegations of corruption in the tender process.
The minister said that discussions would be now held with the United States, United Kingdom, India, Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency before making a decision on asking the World Bank to review the cancellation.
He made the statement a day after the cabinet had endorsed a decision not to make any review request to the WB regarding the loan cancellation. The cabinet was told that the bridge would be constructed with its own funds.
The minister, however on Tuesday, said that it was not correct that the government would not ask the World Bank for a review.
‘The thing is that the government will not do that right at the moment,’ he said adding that the government was monitoring the World Bank activities.
The US ambassador in Dhaka, Dan Mozena, at a meet-the-press in the capital on Tuesday, meanwhile, hoped that the Bangladesh and the World Bank could find a way to forward the stalled Padma bridge project.
A JICA spokesman on Tuesday said that the agency’s decision on funding the Padma bridge project was dependent on the government’s steps against alleged corruption.
The cancellation of credit by the World Bank make the Padma Bridge construction uncertain causing embarrassment to the government.
The Asian Development Bank, another financier, also hinted that it would also scrap $610 million in credit for the project.
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