India releases second tranche of $200m grant
A six-member of delegation of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) will go to New Delhi next week to negotiate on disbursement of $ 800 million Indian
credit to for 14 development projects in Bangladesh.
The Indian government had made the credit commitment for Bangladesh during a visit to New Delhi by prime minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010.
‘But India till now has disbursed a loan of only $70 million out of its commitment of $800 million loan,’ a senior official of the ERD told New Age on Wednesday.
He, however, said that India disbursed $100 million in grant out of $200 million it had pledged.
Indian high commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran handed over a cheque for $50 million, the second tranche of the grant, to finance minister AMA Muhith when the envoy called on him on Wednesday.
Muhith earlier said that the government would use it for the Padma bridge project if it decided to build the bridge with its own money.
‘So the main agenda of the ERD team will be the disbursement process of the loans through discussions with the Indian officials,’ the ERD official said.
The bilateral meeting will be held in New Delhi on May 12-16 to discuss how the Indian credit could be used to implement 14 development projects in Bangladesh, he said.
ERD joint secretary for Asia region, Asif-Uz-Zaman, will lead the Bangladeshi delegates while Radheka Lokesh, joint secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of India, will lead the Indian side at the meeting.
Official said the Bangladesh government has taken many steps to implement the 14 development projects since New Delhi made the financial commitment. But the implementation progress of the projects remained slow as the Indian authorities did not disburse the funds.
Among the 14 development projects, the first component of double-decker and articulated bus supply project has already been implemented. The second component of this project is going on in full swing, but its progress might be hampered if the Indian authorities delay in disbursing the funds, sources said.
Recently, the ERD signed a commercial deal with Exim Bank of India to import goods for 8 projects, the work on which would start as soon as India disburses the funds for those projects.
The concerned executing agencies of four other projects have started work on the tendering process, officials said.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council has recently approved the Strengthening Project of Bangladesh Standard and Tasting Institute, which will also be delayed if the funds do not come in time.
As per the agreement, Bangladesh would have to repay $800 million out of the $1 billion credit in 20 years with a grace period of 5 years.
-With New Age input