Sunday, April 21, 2024

Curtain drawn on WB Padma episode

An irritated govt withdraws request to review loan cancellation
The government has finally decided not to take the World Bank’s loan for financing the Padma Bridge project as it has withdrawn its request to the donor agency to
review the cancellation of a $1.2 billion credit, officials said.
In a significant development, the government sent a letter to the WB headquarters in Washington on Thursday withdrawing its request for the loan that was cancelled by
the WB on June 29, 2012 on allegation of corruption conspiracy in appointment of a consultant for the project.
A deadline earlier set by the government to know about the WB’s decision on the loan for the mega project expired on January 31.
The government, however, informed the WB that the ongoing investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission into the alleged graft in the bridge project would continue.
The WB cancelled the loan but agreed to revive it on certain conditions following a request from the government on September 22, 2012.
But the bank had been dragging its feet on a final decision on whether to fund the bridge, forcing the government to withdraw its request.
Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said that the government had decided to go ahead with the bridge project without WB funding to ‘uphold an election pledge.’
Muhith said in a statement on Friday that the project would become uncertain if the government waited further over starting the construction as per schedule of the WB.
The WB in a statement on Friday acknowledged the latest government decision.
‘The government of Bangladesh yesterday (Thursday) informed the World Bank that it is withdrawing its request for World Bank financing for the Padma Bridge,’ said the
statement.
A WB official in Dhaka said the two-page letter by the government attributed its decision to the delay by the WB in taking a decision on the suspended loan.
The letter also explained that the delay was contrary to a government election pledge for starting construction of the bridge within the tenure of the present
government, said the official.
A senior economic relations division official said the observation by WB president Jim Yong Kim on the Padma Bridge in his speech at the Centre for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington on its stance on corruption in the bank-funded projects prompted the government to send the letter to the bank.
The ERD official said the high-ups of the government became certain that a positive response from WB was highly unlikely after Kim stated that they could not consider
financing the Padma Bridge construction until being assured of a complete and fair investigation into the reported graft.
The official pointed out that the WB resorted to buying time by setting one condition after another in the name of probe into the alleged corruption being carried out
by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
A credible probe by the ACC to be supervised by an independent external panel was one major WB condition to review the sanction of the loan.
The external panel visited the capital twice last year to review the ACC investigation. But it was yet to give its recommendations on which the
WB would take a final decision.
The government apparently being irritated by the WB attitude asked the bank to let it know about its decision by January after the ACC filed cases against nine
government officials, including former bridge division secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan.
Besides, the government dropped Syed Abul Hossain from the cabinet and sent economic affairs adviser Mashiur Rahman on leave in line with the conditions by the WB.
Experts, however, said the government had taken the decision ‘hurriedly.’
‘The decision would make the project uncertain,’ said former caretaker government adviser Mirza Azizul Islam.
The finance minister in his statement said that the government would slash the project cost and build a road bridge only if it was necessary.
He said the government had conveyed its decision to the WB and other co-financiers. The co-financiers have been requested to stay with the project, he said.
Communications minister Obaidul Quader on Friday said Malaysia, China and India were interested in constructing the bridge and the findings would be confirmed by this
month.
He said the government was also considering construction of the bridge with its own funding as he was talking to reporters while visiting the Dhaka-Mymensingh four-
lane road project in Gazipur.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina told a party meeting last week that an alternative design of the project by the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology would
take six months to complete.
She told her party activists that the government would go ahead with the alternative plan if the WB failed to response by January.
The agreement with the WB on a $1.2 loan was signed on April 28, 2011.
The government also inked separate deals with the Asian Development Bank for a $610 million loan, Japan International Cooperation Agency for $400 million and Islamic
Development Bank for $140 million.

-With New Age input

Related News

bKash communications chief Mahfuz Sadique dies at 40

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Mahfuz Sadique, chief communications officer of mobile financial services firm bKash, passed away in Bangladesh capital Dhaka Friday morning. He was 40. Mahfuz died around 9:00am while undergoing treatment at a hospital in the capital, bKash said in a statement. Mahfuz, who began his career as a journalist at New Age, ... Read more

Prices for potatoes increase by 229% from the previous year

Prices for potatoes varied from Tk16 to Tk22 per kg at this time last year. News Desk : dhakamirror.com Despite the presence of both new and old potatoes in the market, potato prices have soared by 229% compared to late December last year. According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the selling price for ... Read more

LGED engineer dead, UNO among 3 injured in Panchagarh car crash

News Desk : dhakamirror.com An engineer of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) was killed and three other government officials were injured when the vehicle of a UNO hit a roadside tree in Panchagarh Sadar upazila early today. The deceased was identified as Abu Sayed, 33, upazila engineer of LGED from Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon. ... Read more

UNHCR calls for rescue of Rohingyas stranded in Andaman Sea

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has made an urgent appeal to all countries in the region, particularly those in the area surrounding the Andaman Sea, to swiftly deploy their full search and rescue capacities in response to reported vessels in distress with hundreds of Rohingya at risk of perishing. ... Read more

Over 200 RMG workers injured in Comilla while evacuating factory during earthquake

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Over two hundred garment workers in Cumilla’s Chauddagram have been injured while trying to evacuate the factory building of Amir Shirt Garment Limited during today’s earthquake. A 5.5 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10km jolted Dhaka, and parts of the country at 9:35am today (2 December). The epicentre of the ... Read more

Daughter hacked father to death in Chattogram

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A father was hacked to death by his own daughter during an altercation over a trivial matter at Lohagara upazila in Chattogram on Friday (1 December). The deceased was identified as Abdur Rahman, 50, of Putibila Sarai village under the upazila. Police have detained the daughter, Humaira Begum, 23, soon after ... Read more

HSC results: Dhaka has most GPA-5 achievers, while Barishal has highest pass rate

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Dhaka had the highest number of GPA-5 recipients in the HSC exams, while Barishal Education Board had the highest pass rate among nine educational boards. Education Minister Dipu Moni announced today that the overall pass rate in the nine general boards is 75.90 percent. In terms of pass rates, Barishal ranked ... Read more

PSC postpones 45th BCS written tests

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to postpone the written tests for the 45th Bangladesh Civil Service examination, which was scheduled to be held on 27 November. The announcement came through a notification signed by Ananda Kumar Biswas, the exam controller of PSC, issued on Friday. PSC held a ... Read more

After stabbing younger sister to death woman ‘kills herself’ in Hazaribagh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A woman reportedly killed herself after stabbing her younger sister to death in the capital’s Hazaribagh area today. Police said the incident took place in the Kalunagar area at around 12am on Monday (13 November). The deceased have been identified as Jasmine Akhtar, 44, and her younger sister Nasreen Akhtar, 30. ... Read more

Oman stops issuing new visas to citizens of Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Sultanate of Oman has suspended the issuance of visas across all categories for Bangladeshi nationals, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said on Tuesday. The decision was effective from Tuesday, reported Oman-based English newspaper the Times of Oman referring to the Royal Oman Police. The report said that the ROP confirmed ... Read more

Dhaka girl Nupur takes over as chairman of Unilever for a day

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Seventeen-year-old Nupur from Dhaka, had the opportunity to take over Unilever’s chairman position for one day on Thursday. There, she symbolically carried out the roles and responsibilities of Zaved Akhtar, the chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh, said a press release. Nupur being an active youth club member, works for ... Read more

Hospitals must follow guidelines, orders HC

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The High Court on Thursday asked the government to take steps to make it compulsory to follow the relevant guidelines for the prevention of performing unnecessary caesarean section surgery at government and private hospitals and clinics. The court has also directed the government to widely circulate the guidelines within six months. ... Read more

Woman delivers birth to five babies at DMCH

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A woman has given birth to five premature babies. The quintuplets were born at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at 10am on Thursday to Mansura Begum, 22, the wife of CNG driver Md Mamun from Bandardia village in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district. One of the newborns, however, died shortly ... Read more

Tk8.44 cr fine imposed to Kazi Farms, 3.44 crore to Suguna Food

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Competition Commission has fined Kazi Farms Group and Saguna Food and Feeds on charges of market manipulation causing abnormal rise in broiler chicken prices. BCC officials said that the companies must deposit the fine amount to the BCC within 10 working days. If they fail to deposit the fine ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit national museum

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited national museum in Dhaka on Sunday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited national museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list on ... Read more

Fare for Bangladesh-India trains to increase from November 10

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Ticket prices of three inter-country trains on Bangladesh-India routes are going to be hiked from November 10. The fares are going to increase due to high exchange rate of US dollar and rising travel tax, according to the Bangladesh Railway officials. The trains are – Maitree Express on Dhaka-Kolkata, Bandhan Express ... Read more

Man, nephew killed by lightning

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A man and his nephew were struck by lightning in Satarbari village of Longair union under Gafargaon upazila of Mymensingh yesterday. The deceased were identified as Sohel Mondol, 40, a trader of pharmaceutical drugs, and his nephew Razib Mondol, 35 a rice trader in the village. Quoting locals, Raju Ahmed, officer-in-charge ... Read more

TV sales decline despite World Cup: Is streaming to blame?

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 captures the attention of sports enthusiasts across the world and an intriguing trend is emerging in Bangladesh’s television market. While events of this magnitude have traditionally led to an increase in TV sales, recent figures from September show a 30% decline compared to the same ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit Paharpur archaeological museum

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited Paharpur archaeological museum in Naogaon on Friday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited Paharpur archaeological museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative ... Read more

Child among three dead as mud walls collapsed in rain in Gazipur

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Three people including an eight-year-old child died in separate incidents of mud walls collapsing during heavy rain in Sadar and Kaliakoir upazilas of Gazipur. The deceased are Faridul Islam, 8, son of Matiur Rahmon of Konabari Baimile under Sadar upazila, and Imarat Hossain, 65, and his wife Achia Begum, 56, of ... Read more