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Govt looks to make best use of 3rd Indian LoC

Agencies meet tomorrow to prepare for executing 17 projects, some to facilitate trade and transit

FHM Humayan Kabir | November 08, 2017 00:00:00

Agencies implementing projects under the latest Indian US$4.5 billion line of credit (LoC) will come under close scrutiny at a meeting to be held tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss the execution-related issues, officials said.

Since some projects under the $862 million Indian LoC-I and $2.0 billion LoC-II are still struggling for execution delays, the government has made the move at the preliminary stages of the proposed 17 projects to be executed under the LoC-III, they said Tuesday.

Different ministries have already taken up these projects to be implemented under the $4.5 billion LoC, confirmed last month.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) will sit with the project-implementing agencies and their line ministries tomorrow (Thursday) to expedite the implementation process under the biggest Indian loan to Bangladesh. ERD Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam will preside.

Meanwhile, different government agencies had already undertaken 17 projects well ahead of the signing of the LoC-III deal on Oct 4 for implementation.

"We are very cautious this time. Since the experiences from the project execution under the first and second LoCs were bad, we want to take preparation earlier so that the planned projects are implemented smoothly," said an ERD official.

"The ERD will first hear from the ministries and agencies about their preparation for starting the execution of the 17 projects. Then it will brief them about the implementation process in a bid to expedite the execution," he told the FE.

Under the $862-million first line of credit, three projects still remained incomplete although the loan agreement was signed in 2010.

Besides, the government agencies failed even to invite tender for the 14 projects taken under the $2.0-billion LoC-II. The loan was confirmed in March 2016.

Meanwhile, out of the $4.5 billion funds under the LoC-III, some $1.0 billion will be spent for installing a power grid to evacuate power from the Rooppur nuclear power plant.

Besides, a significant amount of the borrowed money will be spent for upgrading 245 kilometres of three major highways: Benapole-Jessore-Narail-Bhanga, Ramgarh-Baruerhat, and Maynamoti-Brahmanbaria-Sarail. The route upgrading is meant for providing transit facilities to Indian trucks.

In addition, the LoC will finance the upgrading of Chittagong and Mongla seaports under the transit and transshipment agreement between the two countries.

The government will use nearly $500 million to develop and upgrade three special economic zones (SEZs) in Bangladesh for Indian investors: $100 million to develop SEZ in Mirsarai of Chittagong, $100 million to develop SEZ in Moheshkhali of Cox's Bazar or Payra in Patuakhali, and $300 million for renovation of several other SEZs.

According to the terms and conditions tagged with the present $4.5 billion LoC-III, the project-executing agencies will have to procure minimum 75 per cent of goods/services/works from India while they could procure the remaining 25 from any countries.

For making procurement for the civil works or constructions, the Bangladeshi agencies must take minimum 65 per cent of goods/services/works from the Indian market.

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