Padma Bridge Construction: with or Without World Bank a Review of Current Situation

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Padma Bridge Construction: With or without World Bank A review of current situation
Introduction:
Bangladesh as a developing nation should seriously move to act as a participant in the global economic and financial network for implementation of infrastructure projects. We should increase our focus on long-run development projects where economic returns are higher than commercial returns (such as river training, land acquisition, land administration and resettlement) and commercial financiers may finance commercially viable activities. Padma Bridge is a continuation of the commitment towards such long-run focus associating our development partners. The concept is in a country like Bangladesh, where there is an acute shortage of power and other infrastructural facilities, ensuring transparency, execution support capability and corporate governance can do miracles, in terms of drawing investors focus and ensuring successful implementation of projects. Donor agencies or development partners can also focus on capacity building among civil bureaucracy, for improving their understanding about the project economics and execution with precision. The burning question igniting confusion, consideration or consolidation of various feelings and thoughts is yet to be resolved. Multi-facet variables as monetary, fiscal or even sovereignty or self-esteem of the country are scrutinized to identify the appropriate option.

Background:
Project cost of Padma Bridge is estimated to be US$3.00 billion. Funding for the project is provided by the Asian Development Bank (US$615 m[), the World Bank ($1.5 billion), Japan International Cooperation Agency ($415 m), Islamic Development Bank ($140 m). The government also signed another $14.84 million agreement with the IDB for the implementation of the water-supply and sanitation project in cyclone-prone coastal areas, and Abu Dhabi Development Group ($30 m).Of the total amount, the government will provide Tk 50 million while the rest will come in the form of project aid. The Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) invited the pre-qualification tender for the project in April 2010. Construction of the bridge was expected to commence by early 2011 and be ready for major completion in 2013(and complete all sections by late 2015). The proposed Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project will provide direct connectivity between the central and southwestern part of the country through a fixed link on the Padma River at Mawa-Janjira points. The bridge will contribute significantly towards facilitating the social, economic and industrial development of this relatively underdeveloped region with a population of over 30 million. The area of influence of the direct benefit of the project is about 44,000 km2 or 29% of the total area of Bangladesh. Therefore, the project is viewed as very important infrastructure towards improving the transportation network and regional economic development of the country. The bridge has provisions for rail, gas, electric line and fibre optic cable for future expansion. The project will be co-financed by the government of Bangladesh, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Islamic Development Bank. The Bangladesh Bridge Authority is the executing agency of the project. Communications Minister Obaidul Quader confirmed that the government is going to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Malaysia on February 21 to construct Padma multi-purpose bridge. Once the MoU is signed, the loan interest and other issues will be finalised through negotiation, the minister said while talking to reporters at Roads and Highways office in the capital. The Malaysian government on January 30 formally offered financing for the construction of Padma bridge project, which has been welcomed by Bangladesh government. Malaysian official news agency Bernama reported on Saturday...
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