Dhaka’s Padma Bridge gets hefty international funding

December 22nd, 2009 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, Dec 22 (IANS) Buoyed by international donors that have committed almost cent percent funding, Bangladesh is to launch the construction of its $2.4 billion Padma Bridge by inviting tenders next February.
Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain said: “The Padma Bridge project took off after we assumed power, and it will be completed within the tenure of this government. When the bridge is built 1.2 percent will be added to our national GDP.”

The total commitment by international agencies and banks for the bridge is to the tune of $2.25 billion.

The World Bank is leading the effort with $1.2 billion in soft loans, trebling its earlier offer of $460 million.

The decision to invite tenders was taken at a coordination meeting of the project with Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith in the chair, The Daily Star said Tuesday.

Now that the donors have agreed to provide $2.25 billion of the total construction cost of $2.4 billion, the remaining amount will come from the government coffers.

Initially the total construction cost had been estimated at $1.4 billion, which was re-estimated at $2.4 billion after the final study, Muhith said.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed to provide $550 million, increasing its earlier commitment of $300 million. Five hundred million of the ADB money will come as commercial loan and the remaining will be in soft loan.

Japan also raised its commitment to $300 million in soft loan from its earlier pledge of $200 million. Japan Debt Cancellation Fund (JDCF) will channel an additional $41.48 million as grant to the project from Bangladesh’s debt owed to that country.

The Islamic Development Bank will give $130 million, and Abu Dhabi Development Fund will provide $31.40 million as loans.

For quick construction of the bridge some experts have to be appointed and some vehicles have to be purchased, the minister added.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had during her earlier tenure opened the Jamuna Bridge in 1997, linking major parts of the country’s largely riverine terrain.

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