Insurers want to invest in Padma project

The Bangladesh Insurance Association (BIA) has shown interest to invest around Tk 110 billion for the Padma bridge project following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s announcement of building the country’s biggest infrastructure project with own fund, if necessary.

BIA Chairman Sheikh Kabir Hossain expressed the interest at a press meet on Thursday at its Motijheel office.

“The government has talked about building the bridge on its own. That’s why we want to invest in this project which is very important for the country’s economy. If the government agrees, we’ll invest,” he said.

Kabir said that the life insurance companies have around Tk 160 billion funds. Of the amount, Tk 110 billion can easily be invested in the project, he added.

Asked how they would invest the money, the BIA chief said, “The decision would be taken after discussion with the government.”

The main financier the World Bank cancelled its $1.2-billion promised fund for the $2.9-billion Padma bridge project on Jun 29 alleging corruption. Asian Development Bank (ADB), which had pledged to contribute $610 million to the project, also hinted of following the same path.

In this context, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told the Parliament that the government would build Padma bridge with its own fund, if necessary.

She also said that she already had a meeting with the Bangladesh Bank Governor, the Economic Relations Division and Finance secretaries regarding funding of the project.

BIA chief Kabir Hossain on Thursday said, “We want to invest. We want others to follow us particularly the expatriates to invest in this project.”

According to statistics of BIA, 62 insurance companies are now operating in the country. Of them 18 are life insurance companies and the rest are general insurance companies.

The investment in 18 life insurance companies is Tk 135.42 billion and it is 17.10 billion in general insurance companies.

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