WB precondition prompts Abul’s exit, says MuhithStaff Correspondent
Finance minister AMA Muhith on Wednesday admitted that former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain had to resign from the cabinet because of the World Bank’s condition to release $1.2 billion loan committed to the Padma Multipurpose Bridge project.
‘Abul Hossain had to resign to meet a condition set by the World Bank regarding the bridge project,’ he said a day after the former communications minister stepped down from the cabinet post of ICT minister.
The World Bank last month set four conditions for withdrawing the cancellation of the loan to the mega bridge projects which included sending Syed Abul Hossain on leave.
The Bank said it found ‘credible evidence’ of corruption conspiracy in the bidding process.
‘We are trying to accommodate the proposals,’ Muhith told reporters after a review meeting on power projects in his ministry.
The government was reluctant to fulfill the
conditions which forced the WB to cancel the loan on June 30. It dealt a blow to the much-vaunted infrastructure project across the river Padma.
The ruling Awami League is desperate to start construction of the bridge before the next general election, as it was a major election pledge.
After the resignation of Abul Hossain, the finance minister expressed his optimism to secure the WB loan without which it will be difficult to build the bridge, a top priority infrastructure project.
Muhith pointed out that the president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency would meet with the World Bank president on Wednesday.
He said the issue of the Padma bridge funding would get priority during his meeting with the donors.
Muihith termed the resignation of the former minister as ‘unusual’ happening, saying this type of development did not occur always in our county.
An official at WB’s office in Dhaka said the bank might resume negotiations with the government only after fulfillment of all its conditions.
The official said other measure that the government refused to take was to appoint an international panel to oversee the probe by the Anti-Corruption Commission into the WB’s graft allegations in the project.
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