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Japan to assess funding scope for five large infrastructure projects

Syful Islam | September 12, 2018 00:00:00

Japan is set to field a fact-finding mission to assess whether it will extend loans to five large infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, officials said.

The objective of the mission is to verify and consolidate necessary data or information, review the current status of preparation, and discuss further details of the projects with authorities concerned.

In a recent letter to the Economic Relations Division (ERD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said the projects are still subject to consideration by the government of Japan.

However, JICA did not make commitment to extend the loans for the projects under the 40th ODA (official development assistance) loan package for Bangladesh.

The five projects the mission will assess are Matarbari port development project, Matarbari coal-fired power project, Dhaka mass rapid transit development project, foreign direct investment promotion project, and energy efficiency and conservation promotion financing project.

The mission will have meetings with shipping ministry, power division, roads transport and highways division, the prime minister's office, finance division, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority, and Chittagong Port Authority, among other agencies.

ERD additional secretary Shahidul Islam told the FE JICA is working on several ODA packages for Bangladesh.

Japan has been a good overseas funding source for Bangladesh for a long period, he said.

Mr Islam said a good number of JICA-funded projects are now in different stages-some are at the preliminary, some are at the advanced stage, and some are under consideration.

Another ERD official said the five infrastructure projects are important for Bangladesh's socio-economic development.

The projects at Matarbari are crucial and "we are hopeful that JICA will finance those projects."

Data shows that Bangladesh received 152.5 billion Japanese Yen (US$ 1.54 billion) worth of fund during the last Japanese fiscal year (April 2017 to March 2018), becoming the second-largest ODA recipient in Asia.

The loan was 223 per cent higher than JPY 47.2 billion ODA, disbursed during the previous fiscal year (FY) of 2016 which ended in March 2017.

Presently, Bangladesh government is implementing 33 development projects with financial support from JICA.

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