Four options for Padma bridge, says Muhith

Dhaka, Jul 22 (bdnews24.com)

Finance Minister AMA Muhith said on Sunday the government was considering four alternatives for securing funding for the Padma bridge project.

“The first one is to reinstate the credit agreement with the World Bank while the second one is to go ahead with the project with the other three donor agencies and someone new. The third way is to execute the project under PPP (Public Private Partnership),” he told journalists at the Secretariat. 

“And the final alternative”, Muhith said, “is to construct the Padma bridge with own fund as the Prime Minister had announced.” 

He said the government would start construction with own fund if the first three alternatives did not work out. “We will start construction of the bridge within this fiscal,” a determined Finance Minister stated.

He said the government was continuing its attempts at ‘various levels’ to persuade the World Bank to reconsider its Padma bridge project funding decision.

“The JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) President is now in Washington, he will have a meeting with the World Bank President,” Muhith said adding “I’ve requested him to discuss the Padma bridge [with the World Bank President].”

“Confidence has been built up,” he observed when asked how confident the government was in persuading donors including the World Bank.

On the probability of executing the country’s largest infrastructure project with own funding, the Finance Minister said arranging the money would not be a problem.

“Our current budget is nearly worth Tk 2 trillion which will be nearly Tk 3 trillion over the next three years. It won’t be a problem to set aside Tk 80 billion from a Tk 3 trillion budget every year and thereby manage Tk 240 billion.”

Muhith said many ministries would have to sacrifice their allocations, as a lot of fund would be channelled to the bridge project.

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