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PPPA yet to drop unviable projects

Apathy of agencies blamed

MUNIMA SULTANA | January 05, 2021 00:00:00

The Public-Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) is yet to drop non-progressive projects from its pipeline for a lack of initiatives by the agencies concerned.

A second review meeting at PPPA office on Monday found that no agencies have taken steps to place projects to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs to follow the non-listing procedure.

The PPPA includes projects in its pipeline after the approval from the committee.

The meeting, chaired by PPPA CEO Sultana Afroz, observed that all these projects have not made any progress since approval, creating doubt about their viability and marketability, sources said.

"Different agencies initially rushed with innumerable project proposals after the PPPA's formation. But they were later reluctant to implement. They even didn't take initiatives to overcome," said a reliable source.

The meeting found that gaps between public and private partners after signing contracts also caused poor progress, he added.

It reviewed some 27 projects and found six projects problematic with almost no progress, sources said.

Despite the government's decision to shift some PPP projects, they said, the agencies get proposal from foreign companies even through foreign mission offices to fund under PPP.

The Dhaka-Chattogram Expressway is among the projects.

The Bangladesh Railway (BR) is yet to drop Dhirarshoram ICD from the PPP list despite announcement to build it by its own fund.

It was learnt that the BR also looks for money from foreign funding agencies through economic relations.

The first review meeting with Prime Minister's Office principal secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus last September proposed to cut these projects from the pipeline for not making any progress.

Among them were light rapid transit project under Narayanganj City Corporation, IT village at Moheshkhali under ICT Division, nationwide non-intrusive inspection project under National Board of Revenue and LNG Import, Storage and Bottling plant in Chittagong under Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation.

As the PPPA is now interested in going ahead with viable and marketable projects as a good number of projects have already made good progress under government-to-government arrangements.

With the support of respective agencies and ministries, Japan, Korea, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have proposed to fund projects like multimodal transport hub, expressways and bridge construction.

Since the PPPA was formed under a 2015 law, it has been working on 77 approved projects of road transport, bridges, power, tourism and health under the PPP model.

But only two health-sector development projects are in operation and six at the construction stage.

But the agencies also faced setbacks after opening tenders several times and even some projects after contract signing could not be started for problems at local level.

Shaibal motel of the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation has remained stuck for years due to non-cooperation from local influential people.

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