Chinese firm to build Bangladesh's graft-hit bridge

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by amoy, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/chinese-firm-build-bangladeshs-graft-075753267.html

    A Chinese firm will build Bangladesh's biggest river bridge two years after the $3-billion project was hit by graft, prompting the World Bank to halt its largest-ever infrastructure loan, the government says.

    The proposed 6.2-kilometre (3.8-mile) bridge, aimed at transforming Bangladesh's poverty-hit south, over the Padma river -- the local name for the Ganges -- would connect the capital Dhaka to coastal districts.

    "The work order for the main Padma Bridge has been awarded to the China Major Bridge Engineering Company," Communications Minister Obaidul Quader said in a statement late Monday.

    The company will build the core part of the bridge at a cost of 121 billion taka ($1.55 billion), the minister said.

    The World Bank in June 2012 cancelled the loan for the bridge, saying the government had not cooperated in investigating "high-level" corruption in the project.

    The other donors, including a Japanese aid agency and the Asian Development Bank, followed suit, raising uncertainty about whether the key project would ever be constructed.

    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, however, later vowed the bridge would be built with the impoverished nation's own funds.

    The announcement that the Chinese firm will build the bridge comes days before Hasina travels to China on a five-day visit during which Dhaka and Beijing are expected to sign several deals.

    The proposed two-level steel truss composite bridge is designed to carry a highway and a rail line and is aimed at transforming the country's impoverished southern region through better road and rail connections.

    Right now, all traffic across the Padma must rely on ferries, which are often unsafe due to overloading and poor maintenance.
    The project also includes 12 kilometre of approach roads designed to transform the country's isolated southern region.
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  3. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    China will build up closer comprehensive partnership with Bangladesh | Dhaka Tribune
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    Excerpts

    How can Bangladesh get China’s huge outbound investment?

    With its economic development, China will invest an additional $500bn overseas and import over $10tn from abroad in the next five years.

    There is no doubt that Bangladesh would be one of the best destinations for Chinese investors as Bangladesh has a huge and capable labour force and investment-friendly policies.

    To ensure and attract more investment from China, the establishment of a Special Export Processing Zone for China in Bangladesh should be on top priority in the near future.

    To what extent has Bangladesh used China’s duty-free and quota-free scheme extended in 2010?

    In July 2010, China exempted duty for 4,721 kinds of Bangladeshi products that promoted the export from Bangladesh.

    In the last three years, the total value of the duty free products export from Bangladesh to China was $690mn. On an average this was 45% of the total export amount. And the duty saved value was $361.5mn.

    How do you see the possibility of financial settlement in Bangladesh’s Taka and Chinese RMB by encouraging currency swap?

    As an important step of RMB internationalisation, China has signed the currency swap agreement with more than 20 countries in six years, including the United Kingdom, Korea, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, etc. With rapid development of scale, it is amounting to more than RMB2tn.

    As we all know, such an important agreement not only needs time, but also needs feasibility research and close cooperation of the governments.

    With the speed up pace of RMB internationalisation and growth of bilateral trade volume, we keep an optimistic attitude on the agreement of Taka and RMB Swap.

    How do you assess the progress made so far on Bangladesh-China road connectivity through Myanmar?

    In 2010, China and Bangladesh agreed to continue to discuss the possibility of building road and rail links between the two countries. Since then, the two sides have kept close cooperation in this regard.

    Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar has been working on establishing an Economic Corridor for better connectivity and ultimately boost trade, economic and cultural exchanges within the region. I believe the road connectivity between China and Bangladesh would be one of the priority projects under the framework of BCIM-EC.

    Will you use your good office to complete the expansion of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway as a Chinese company has been undertaking the construction and there was little progress on the ground?

    First of all, I have to say the background of delay is manifold and complex. However, the fact is that the Chinese company (HYDROCHINA) has been investing full resources to accelerate the construction of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway. The construction process has been resumed to normal level on March with the involvement of the embassy and the ministry of communication of the Bangladesh government.

    The successful implementation of a project needs cooperation from both sides. I hope the concerned authority and consultants could also give them full support in efficiency, land acquisition as well as the reasonable claims by the Chinese company.

    Is there any strategic specialty in Chinese defence cooperation? What are those?

    I would like to emphasise on three points regarding China-Bangladesh defence cooperation. First, defence cooperation is an integral part of the “Comprehensive Partnership of Cooperation” between China and Bangladesh. Such a strategic partnership is in the fundamental interest of the two countries and the two peoples.

    Second, with a view to helping Bangladesh modernise and strengthen its armed forces, China has provided necessary assistance within its capacity to Bangladesh without preconditions attached. Third, China-Bangladesh defence cooperation strictly adheres to relevant international law and norms on international relations, and is not directed against any third country or party.

    Bangladesh, China and India have been sharing a common river, the Brahmaputra, which is the Yaluzangbu in China. Will China take initiative for joint management of the Brahmaputra basin by the three countries?

    The Chinese Government adopts a very cautious attitude towards utilisation of water resources of trans-border rivers. China is committed to utilise the water resources of the Yaluzangbu/Brahmaputra River with environmentally friendly practices and will take full consideration of the impact on the downstream countries.

    Actually, China and Bangladesh have enjoyed sound cooperation on the Yaluzangbu/Brahmaputra River. In 2008, the two governments signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Provision of Hydrological Information of the Yaluzangbu/Brahmaputra River in Flood Season by China to Bangladesh. Ever since then, China provided Bangladesh with information on water level, discharge and rainfall of Yaluzangbu/Brahmaputra River twice a day from June 1 to October 15 each year.

    The vice Minister of Water Resources of China will visit Bangladesh in early June. During the visit, the two sides will renew the above mentioned MOU which was expired in 2013. And I believe we could work even more closely on issues related to the Yaluzangbu/Brahmaputra River.

    - See more at: China will build up closer comprehensive partnership with Bangladesh | Dhaka Tribune
     

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