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Japan pledges $1.83b more for dev projects

Projects to be bankrolled include port, transport, power, Jamuna rail-bridge

FHM Humayan Kabir | March 31, 2018 00:00:00

Japan has offered some US$1.83 billion in assistance for bankrolling Bangladesh's six major development projects on communications infrastructures, power and port.

Ministry of Finance (MoF) officials said Friday Japanese Ambassador in Bangladesh Mr Hiroyasu Izumi met Economic Relations Division (ERD) secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam Thursday in Dhaka and pledged the development assistance.

A senior MoF official said a deal on the $1.83-billion loan under the 39th Official Development Assistance (ODA) package is expected to be signed by June this year.

Bangladesh's largest bilateral donor, Japan in the last 38th ODA package had provided Yen 178.223 billion ($1.64 billion) for utilising in six development projects in transport infrastructure, power and water-sector-improvement works.

The last package was signed last June.

The MoF official said Japanese donor-agency Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will finance the six projects under the proposed $1.83 billion (Yen 200.37 billion) credit.

"We are hopeful about receiving the funds under its upcoming 39th ODA package by June this year to finance six ongoing and fresh development projects," a senior MoF official told the FE.

He said a team, headed by the Japanese Ambassador, pledged 39th ODA package as the donor is willing to sign the deal for finalising the fund.

Earlier, a JICA mission in September-October period completed its visit to Bangladesh exploring the possible projects to be financed.

Under the proposed ODA package, Japan will provide some Yen 2.65 billion for Matarbari port-development project, Yen 37.22 billion for Dhaka MRT line-6 construction (phase-III) project, Yen 7.36 billion for Dhaka MRT line -5 feasibility-study project, Yen 7.93 billion for Matarbari ultra supercritical coal-fired power-plant (phase-IV) project, Yen 6.73 billion for Jamuna rail-bridge-construction project and Yen 6.56 billion for a health service- strengthening project.

The sources said the proposed 39th ODA package will be very useful for Bangladesh as the money will be used for developing the Matarbari port, ongoing Matarbari power-plant project, feasibility study and detailed design of the MRT line-5 in Dhaka and for constructing rail-bridge across the river Jamuna that cuts the country down the middle.

"All of these projects are very important for the country to ensure smooth transportation and uninterrupted power supply," the senior MoF official said.

The Bangladesh government will have to repay the loan in 30 years with a 10-year grace period. JICA will charge 1.0 per cent interest on the proposed credit.

As Bangladesh's largest bilateral development partner Japan, over the last 5-6 years, has enhanced its aid with confirmation of more than US$1.0 billion worth of funds under each of the aid package.

Japan has so far provided nearly US$12 billion dollars in assistance since the financial year (FY) 1971-72.

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