Loan agreement with IDB on Padma Bridge next week

ADB appraisal mission arrives tomorrow
Munima Sultana
The government will sign a credit agreement with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for US $130 million next week in a first of a series of such deals with donors to finance the Padma bridge project.

It will be a step forward towards construction of the $ 2.4 billion 6.15 km long Padma bridge by the year 2013, when the tenure of the present government ends.

Officials said an ADB appraisal mission arrives in Dhaka on August 15 to sign the deal for the money, which will be spent on construction of the approach roads to the bridge.

The officials said loan arrangements with other donors will proceed with such separate mission from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The World Bank has assured the government of providing $1.2 billion, which is almost half of the total project cost followed by ADB $650. Though JICA is yet to make any firm commitment, but officials said it will not be less than its annual pledge of $ 300 to the country.

The officials said JICA’s fact finding mission arrived in the city on

August 9. The Japanese government’s commitment level will be known after the mission report back on its return to Tokyo.

They said the JICA fact finding mission has already completed its evaluation including design and preparation of the project and it is expected that the appraisal mission of JICA will arrive within a month or two to sign the loan deals.

The government now expects to commence construction work on the road-cum-rail bridge with steel-truss composite in January next year after it was forced to change several previous schedules due to non-cooperation of the development partners in releasing pre-qualification documents and short listing of the bidders in time.

The government also missed its calendar of the project as the donors put various conditions including completion of river training works, environmental assessment report and capacity enhancement of Padma bridge executing agencies.

Officials said all the donors are now satisfied with the progress of the project and they expect announcement on final appraisal missions soon after completion of the pre-appraisal visits.

thefinancialexpress

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