Bangladesh and Japan have agreed to set new schedules for implementation of five big infrastructure projects here as the authorities concerned failed to meet the previous deadlines amid Covid-19 pandemic.
The two countries reached the consensus at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, emphasising on setting new timelines for carrying out different works of each project and stressing on expediting the processes, meeting sources said.
They said the projects, planned to be implemented under the public private partnership (PPP) initiative with G2G modality, are expected to create an investment opportunity worth around US$ 8.0 billion.
The PPP Authority (PPPA) of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan organised the 4th Bangladesh-Japan Joint PPP Platform Meeting at the Prime Minister's Office.
Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F. Rahman and MLIT's Vice-Minister NOMURA Masafumi led the meeting from their respective sides.
Originally scheduled on March 12 last year in Dhaka, the joint platform meeting on the projects under road and rail sectors was postponed due to the pandemic. The 3rd meeting was held in March 2019.
The projects came under discussion with presentation from the Japanese side included Multimodal Transport Hub (MmTH) Kamalapur Railway Station, Chattogram-Cox's Bazar Highway, Dhaka Outer Ring Road and Mass Rapid Transit MRT Line-2.
A Japanese company expressed its interest at the meeting to implement the airport railway station multimodal transport hub along with operation and management (O&M) work of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) while the Bangladesh side proposed three more projects for Japanese investment.
The meeting sources, however, said the two sides did not take any decision on the new proposals.
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of Japan in Dhaka ITO Naoki, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan Shahabuddin Ahmed and, Secretary and CEO of PPPA Sultana Afroz were present at the 4th meeting.
Secretaries of concerned ministries, senior government officials, private investors, representatives of financial institutions, the MLIT and the PPPA took part in the meeting. Representatives from Bangladesh Railway (BR), Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA), Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) and Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) were also present.
Sources said the meeting was informed about the agreement reached among the BR, BBA and DMTCL at the design level of Kamalapur Rail Station Multi Modal Transport Hub.
A summery on the project is likely to be placed before the Prime Minister of Bangladesh if necessary to shift the iconic Kamalapur station building. "No detail discussion took place on the issue," said an official who attended the meeting.
Kajima Corporation and Marubeni Corporation of Japan have been working on the Kamalapur multimodel transport hub project and Chattogram-Cox's Bazar highway projects respectively.
The Bangladesh side presented two new projects for implementing under the PPP G2G modality. The 'Upgrading of Nabinagar-Manikgong-Paturia Road (N5) into Expressway Project' was presented by Roads and Highways Department (RHD) and the 'Concession for HSIA and Developments of Surrounding Area Project' by Mitsubishi Corporation.
RHD shared the development of outer circular road while DMTCL presented the Detailed Design, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of MRT Line-2 project.
Mitsubishi Corporation also shared their plan on 'Concession for HSIA and Developments of Surrounding Area'. No decision was taken in this regard as two different agencies were involved in the proposal, meeting sources said.
They said the CAAB Chairman informed the meeting that there is a decision in principal to award the O&M of the HSIA and said they have more proposals in this connection.
Mr. Salman F. Rahman opined that the PPP under G2G modality is the best comfortable way to meet the much-needed infrastructure in Bangladesh, according to a statement issued by the PPPA after the meeting.
He also encouraged MLIT and the Japanese private sector to partner with the Bangladesh private investors to implement the projects.
The MLIT Vice-Minister appreciated the support of PPPA for strengthening the partnership between Japanese investors and the government agencies of Bangladesh.
Ambassador ITO Naoki laid importance on PPP with Japan, saying that Bangladesh will benefit from the transfer of technical knowhow, reduced risk exposure and availability of capital.
Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus highlighted the historical ties between the two countries and said that one of the best documentaries of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was made by a Japanese journalist.
He also appreciated Japan's support for PPP projects in Bangladesh as a trusted development partner.