Bangladesh came out on top of the league of recipients of loans from Japan in the Japanese fiscal year (JFY) 2018, thanks to significant progress in the JICA-funded projects here.
Against the disbursement target of 134.03 billion Japanese yen for 33 projects, according to the Economic Relations Division (ERD), 145.68 billion yen was disbursed during the period from April 2018 to March 2019.
The disbursement rate was 8.0 per cent more than the target set in the JFY 2018, ERD sources said.
The global rate of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) loan disbursement was 86 per cent.
ERD officials said this was possible due to the close monitoring of the projects bankrolled by JICA.
As most of the JICA-sponsored projects had reached their implementation stage, they said, achieving the target was also possible.
"Continuous monitoring and timely resolution of different problems by project offices are the reasons behind this success," cited an official.
He said mutual visits by prime ministers of Bangladesh and Japan also helped resolve different problems with the highest priority.
Bangladesh traditionally remains far behind in terms of the loan disbursement rate for different projects financed by development partners like China, India and Asian Development Bank.
The achievement in JICA loan disbursement is considered significant in that consideration, said the official.
A high-level portfolio review meeting on JICA's ODA (official development assistance) between ERD, JICA and project offices in May also found significant contribution of three projects to achieving the success.
The schemes are Matarbari Power Plant project, MRT Line-6 project, and Kanchpur-Meghna-Gumti bridges construction and rehabilitation project.
Meeting sources said six more projects also helped achieve the success.
They are Karnaphuli Water Supply (Phase-2), National Power Transmission Network Development, Inclusive City Governance, Northern Bangladesh Integrated Development, Western Bangladesh Bridge Improvement, and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Promotion projects.
After the 2014 visits of two PMs, they said, Japanese cooperation for Bangladesh rises annually. The figure in 2018 rose to 200 billion yen from 96 billion in 2013.
JICA senior representative Taro Katsurai told the portfolio meeting that 12 projects achieved 100 per cent disbursement and eight projects 80-100 per cent. But five projects had zero disbursement.
Bangladesh also ranked first in the pipeline execution ratio (PER) in JFY 2018 by achieving 27.4 per cent disbursement, he said.
They are small-scale water resources development project (phase-2), Matarbari port development, Dhaka underground substation construction, disaster management enhancement project and Dhaka mass rapid transit development project line-5.
JICA has set a 177.50-billion yen disbursement target for the JFY 2019 for 30 projects under 36 loan agreements.
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