Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 06:13:35 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Commentary

In our interest the World Bank should be approached for Padma Bridge

By Editorial Desk
14th-Aug-2014       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

After a long dramatic row over the World Bank (WB) funding of the much awaited Padma Bridge Project, the World Bank agreed that it should not have withdrawn from the Padma Bridge Project for the allegations of internal corruption. It was for the country concerned to deal with such allegations. The World Bank could only raise them. The Finance Minister AMA Muhith expressed happiness that the World Bank has changed its policy and realised the mistake.
We also agree with World Bank's change of policy for the simple reason that the World Bank is to stop its own corruption and see others cannot misappropriate the loan money. Any kind of corruption cannot justify depriving the people of useful projects. We have to further mention that both sides took corruption allegation as a challenge. Bangladesh forced a Minister to resign. That shows that the government was ready to cooperate to stop corruption in the project.    
An ECNEC meeting on August 20, 2007 headed by the then Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed approved the Padma Bridge Project with a cost estimation of Tk 10,161 crore. On January 11, 2011, the ECNEC chaired by the incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the revised plan with a nearly double cost of Tk 20,507 crore for the project. The WB Board on February 24, 2011 approved a $1.2 billion financing deal out of a total cost of $2.9 billion. WB committed to contribute half of the total project cost at a lower interest rate. WB was supposed to provide $1.2 billion at an interest rate of 0.75 percent to be repaid in 40 years with a 10-year grace period. If the normal loan amortization schedule applied, the government would have had to pay $249 million in interest in 40 years. WB interest rate is very low in contrast to other proposal. For this WB's credit facility is very important.
However, the Washington-based global lender tried to get the attention of the Bangladesh government on some misdeed during the tender process of the Padma Bridge scheme as it smelt a fraud at the tender procedure in April 2011. The Bank claimed that it had some reliable allegations of financial irregularities regarding the tender process. First, the World Bank warned the government on the misdeeds and alleged 'conspiracy for corruptions' and insisted on initiating prosecution against persons said to have been involved. Bangladesh government here also was ready to prosecute some, but that did not satisfy the World Bank's existing policy.
Now after the change of policy and recognising mistake we see no reason why the World Bank should not take up the Padma Bridge Project so vital for the people of Bangladesh for more than one reason.   
The government failed to ease the World Bank's concerns, but in the meantime, about two years have passed. The government later seemed in a mad rush to arrange the funding for Padma Bridge construction from other sources. The new Communication Minister in his typical mannerism told and retold stories of managing funds for the dream Bridge. There were tales of funds coming from Malaysia or China - except WB - or even through popular subscription from within the country.  It turned to be even an election pledge for the voter less Jan 5 polls.
After long search of two years for alternative funding a Chinese company Sinohydro bagged a contract for $780 million for the Padma River training project last month. But the company later on admitted it is under temporary suspension by the World Bank over an accusation of fraud. Backed by an influential political lobby, Sinohydro offered a price of around Tk 8,778 crore, about Tk 4,000 crore less than the sums quoted by the other two bidders - Korean Hyundai and Belgian Jan De Nul. The two companies later informed the government that the Chinese firm had concealed information about the WB suspension and was ineligible to contest. The same irregularities occurred again. So the arrangement with China is far from convincing.
It would be a better opportunity for Bangladesh to construct Padma Bridge at a most cost effective manner reducing our ultimate debt burden in foreign loans. The World Bank has also realigned its approach to tackling corruption in the project, as it said in its latest Country Assistance Strategy Progress Report. "When evidence of corruption comes to light, its response should not be to disengage, but to engage differently", the report clarified.
Using the credit line from the WB for the project (Padma Bridge) will benefit Bangladesh in more than one way. They are at the minimum: i) a minimum rate of interest (0.75 pc per annum); ii) longer repayment period (40 years); iii) a 10-year grace period; iv) amortization or rescheduling the installment in unforeseen forced conditions; v) ensure participation of world class firms in the project bidding/construction; vi) use of the state-of-the-art technologies, and vii) eventually longer life span of the bridge so constructed.
There is no doubt that apart from lower cost the World Bank is the best equipped for the size of Padma Bridge Project. The government must do what is best for the country. China is also our friend and it will not be too difficult to avoid any misunderstanding.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Stand beside flood-hit people


DIFFERENT kinds of waterborne diseases have begun spreading as floodwater started receding across the country. But in the post-flood scenario, many people are suffering from diarrhoea, skin diseases, dysentery, cholera and other waterborne diseases. Officials of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre said the flood situation may continue improving in ...

Sports »

Lowry weathers storm to win British Open and first major


Ireland's Shane Lowry withstood howling wind and rain to win his first major at the British Open by six shots from Tommy Fleetwood on Sunday, describing the achievement as "an out-of-body experience".In desperately difficult conditions, Lowry's one-over par final round was still more than enough as he finished on 15-under ...

International »

UK leadership favourite Johnson hits more turmoil on last voting day


AFP :Britain's leadership contest entered its finale Monday with the favourite Boris Johnson facing more defections from ministers over his Brexit plan.The month-long contest between former London mayor Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is being decided by fewer than 200,000 grassroots members of the governing Conservative Party.The winner will ...

International »

Zelensky party heads for absolute majority in Ukraine


AFP :Ukraine's comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky is set to control an absolute majority in parliament, ushering in a generational shift in the ex-Soviet country's political arena.The 41-year-old became Ukraine's youngest ever post-Soviet leader when he took office two months ago and has promised to stamp out corruption and end a separatist ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presenting National Fisheries Award to Mostofa Al Rajib, Upazila Fisheries Officer, Betagi , Barguna for the latter's contribution in Fisheries Sector at a ceremony held recently in the auditorium of Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh in the city on the occasion of National Fisheries Week.


Entertainment »

Mamo under Tauquir’s direction, Bipasha’s story


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :As an actress, in the beginning of her career, Zakia Bari Mamo got the National Film Award to act in Tauquir Ahmed-directed movie Daruchini Dwip. For this reason, Mamo always respects to Tauquir Ahmed. Now she is a matured actress who always wants to work in challenging ...

Editorial »

Taking law in own hand is an ominous sign


MOBS beat to death five people, including two women, and injured 10 others on suspicion of being child kidnappers across the country on Saturday. The incidents happened just a day after three people were beaten by a mob in Thakurgaon. Incidents of mob beating have increased even after the Bridges ...

International »

Abe on course to retain majority in upper house election


AFP, Tokyo :Japanese voters cast ballots Sunday in an upper house election, with Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc looking to protect its majority and keep on track plans to amend the country's pacifist constitution.The 64-year-old Abe, who is on course to become Japan's longest-serving prime minister, is also hoping to shore ...

Entertainment »

Mehazabien, Tawsif, Sabila Nur’s Eid drama Better half


Entertainment Report :Few days ago, a drama titled Swapno Dekhi Abaro, directed by Mahmudur Rahman Himi, was made with theme given by popular TV actress Mehazabien Chowdhury. Mehazabien also acted in this play against Shamol Mawla which will be telecasted in upcoming Eid. This time Imraul Rafat has made an ...

Editorial »

Administrative control over ACC only to happy the corrupts


ANTI-GRAFT campaigner Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed deep concern and extreme disappointment over the government's decision for making Deputy Commissioners as authorised officers to oversee the Anti-Corruption Commission's work in the districts. The move will undoubtedly restrict the ACC's ability to fight graft and proper investigation into allegations of ...

Sports »

Penny drops for Canada's teen swim queen Oleksiak


Canada's Penny Oleksiak insists she has finally left the "weirdness" of capturing Olympic swimming gold at the tender age of 16 after finally recovering from a lengthy Rio hangover. Oleksiak, who is preparing for the world championships which begin in South Korea this weekend, stunned the sport when she dead-heated ...

International »

Thousands rally in support of Hong Kong police


AP, Hong Kong :Tens of thousands of people rallied in support of Hong Kong's police and pro-Beijing leadership on Saturday, a vivid illustration of the polarisation coursing through the city after weeks of anti-government demonstrations.Hong Kong has been rocked by more than a month of huge and largely peaceful protests-as ...

International »

US offers $7m to find Hezbollah agent as Pompeo visits Argentina


AFP, Buenos Aires :The United States on Friday offered a $7 million reward to find a Hezbollah operative accused of masterminding a deadly 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to unite Latin American nations against the militants.Pompeo visited to mark ...

Entertainment »

Shilpa Shetty to return to the big screen after twelve years


Shilpa Shetty is all set to make a comeback on the big screen after a gap of twelve years. The actress was last seen in Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby Deol starrer Apne (2007). Before jetting off on a holiday with family, Shilpa has green lit filmmaker Aziz Mirza's son Haroon ...

Editorial »

Corruption in WASA crosses all limits


THE Anti Corruption Commission has identified eight projects and three areas in Dhaka WASA where corruption takes place. The State enterprise keeps extending deadlines and increasing the costs of its projects to create room for corruption. In many cases, WASA did not carry out its work as per project designs ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news