Big Japanese aid for Bangladesh bridge

November 30th, 2010 - 1:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, Nov 30 (IANS) Japan will provide an additional $100 million to Bangladesh for the construction of a bridge over the Padma river.

The announcement came Monday evening in Tokyo in a joint statement signed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and her Japanese host, Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

The additional $100 million will take Japan’s total level of participation in the project to $400 million.

The Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project is a key communication link for Bangladesh, a nation criss-crossed by river systems.

Of the total funding of $2.40 billion, the World Bank will provide $1.20 billion, Asian Development Bank $550 million and the Abu Dhabi Fund of the UAE government $30 million to implement the Padma Bridge Project, New Age newspaper said Tuesday.

Kan assured Hasina of actively considering the Bangladesh proposal for relaxing the rules on knitwear products to strengthen bilateral economic relations through textile trade.

Knitwear, along with readymade garments, fetches the highest foreign exchange for Bangladesh. Together, they earned $12 billion last year.

Japan is one of the top donors for Bangladesh. Hasina proposed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Japan to reduce the existing huge trade gap with Japan and sought enhanced Japanese investment in Bangladesh.

Japan’s export to Bangladesh was over $1 billion but Bangladesh’s export to Japan was only $330 million in the current fiscal.

“This needed to be corrected by more Japanese investment and relocation of weaker Japanese industries in Bangladesh,” Hasina said, adding that Bangladesh’s special investment schemes under Public-Private-Partnership and Build-Own-Operate-Transfer could be of interest to Japanese investors.

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