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The Financial Express

Dhaka now seeks $701m from Beijing to bankroll two priority projects

| Updated: November 19, 2021 19:59:23


Dhaka now seeks $701m from Beijing to bankroll two priority projects

The government now seeks to borrow US$701 million from China to bankroll two priority projects, after a pause of nearly two years in Beijing's bountiful development-financing support for Bangladesh to execute mega projects.

Officials in Dhaka said Wednesday that the two proposed projects would be implemented for drinkable water supply in Rajshahi city and expansion of digital connectivity across the country.

"We have already requested Beijing to sit for negotiations for four projects, including two top-priority ones. We are hopeful of a quick response from them," said an Economic Relations Division (ERD) official.

Bangladesh has sought funds for the four projects from a list of 27 priority ones agreed between two countries during the Dhaka visit of Chinese President Xi Zinping in 2016.

The ERD official said they had sought $276 million for the water-treatment plant for Rajshahi Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (RWASA) and $450 million for the digital connectivity projects.

Besides, they also requested for procuring six vessels for the Bangladesh Shipping Corporation and upgrading six TV stations of Bangladesh Television.

After a stalemate for around two years, Beijing last month (October) signed a $1.27 billion worth of loan deal with Dhaka for funding the Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway project.

A senior ERD official said: "We were trying to communicate China over the last few months for the negotiations. We are hopeful of a fruitful discussion shortly for at least two priority projects."

The digital-connectivity project of the ICT Ministry and water-treatment plant for RWASA are the very essential projects at this moment, he added.

According to the ERD, Bangladesh has so far signed $7.80 billion worth of loan deals for eight projects out of the 27 listed ones with China since 2016.

The 27 proposed projects will require some $20 billion worth of funds, ERD officials said.

Currently, different megaprojects like Padma Bridge railway link, power supply in DPDC area, tunnel down the Karnaphuli river, Info-sarker project of the ICT division, and single-point mooring for Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation are being implemented in Bangladesh with Chinese loan.

Usually, China's loan is provided by China EXIM Bank at a 2.0-per cent rate of interest.

The loan maturity is 20 years, with a five-year grace period.

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