FBCCI wants US to mediate Padma row

The president of country’s apex trade body FBCCI wants the United States to mediate to put an end to misunderstanding between Bangladesh and the World Bank over the Padma bridge project.

“There is a misunderstanding between the World Bank and the Bangladesh government. I request you to take steps to resolve the matter,” A K Azad said addressing US ambassador Dan W Mozena at a programme in the city on Saturday.

“This can be resolved only through discussions,” he said.

The US ambassador was attending the annual general meeting of the International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB).

The global lender was supposed to lend $ 1.2 billion of the $ 2.9 billion for the construction of the country biggest infrastructure project Padma bridge, but suspended its funding bringing allegations of corruption in Oct last year.

However, rejecting the allegations, the government dared the Washington-based lender to prove the charges and threatened to find other sources to fund the ambitious project. On Feb 2, the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) said that they found the graft allegations baseless.

Controversial communications minister Syed Abul Hossain was shifted to the newly-restructured information communication technology (ICT) ministry amid corruption allegations. Obaidul Quader was made the new communications minister.

Thereafter, a new phase of talks started with donor agencies on the funding system of the bridge project.

Though the government was likely to sign a memorandum of understanding with Malaysia in February for financing the project, later it was informed that China is also interested in the bridge project.

But it is yet to be finalised which country or organisation will provide fund for the project.

Apart from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) had pledged $610 million, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) $400 million and Islamic Development Bank $140 million as loan for the $2.9-billion bridge project.


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