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AIIB to review Bangladesh projects for quicker execution

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The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), new-generation development financier, is set to review Bangladesh projects shortly for speeding up execution by removing bottlenecks.

Officials said Monday the Economic Relations Division (ERD) would arrange the tripartite meeting where project directors and relevant line-ministry officials for the AIIB-funded ongoing and proposed projects will be present.

A joint secretary at the ERD said the meeting is expected to be held on September 9 aiming mainly to expedite execution and fund release and eliminate hurdles in the way of implementation of the projects funded by the bank, pioneered by China.

"We want to sit with the Beijing-based lender in a bid to resolve problems that emerged after the launch of the projects. Besides, we will also discuss the proposed projects requested for funding from the AIIB," the official added.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh had requested the Beijing-based Asian infrastructure financier to arrange the review meeting.

AIIB has recently emerged as one of the key development partners of Bangladesh as it has so far confirmed a total of US$560 million worth of assistance during January-August period of this calendar year 2021 for the country's different development projects.

Another ERD official said that Bangladesh had already requested the AIIB for financing some projects in the transport, health, water and sanitation, power, and rural-development sectors.

"Besides, some of the ongoing projects for which AIIB confirmed financing are also facing some implementation delays. The review meeting will help remove the barriers," he told the FE.

He said they were taking preparation to hold the meeting sometime in the middle next month with the Beijing-based lender.

"We would call our project directors and line ministries to attend the tripartite meeting," the ERD official said, expressing the hope that the meeting would bring a fruitful result for executing the ongoing projects and expediting those in pipeline.

The AIIB had recently confirmed US$260 million in loan for building Kewatkhali Bridge in Mymensingh.

It also approved a $300-million loan in February this year for Bangladesh government for financing the COVID-19 Emergency and Crisis Response Facility project.

The loan is being utilized for executing government-announced stimulus package for cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSMEs).

Earlier in 2020, the lender also signed nearly $1.0 billion worth of aid deals with Bangladesh government for several projects.

Furthermore, the AIIB has proposed providing another $900 million worth of aid for three separate projects and programmes in Bangladesh within this calendar year, ERD sources said.

According to the ERD, the proposed credits are expected to be provided for vaccine procurement, COVID-19 pandemic response and mitigation, economic recovery and power-transmission line.

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