Author / Source: JAGARAN CHAKMA
Beijing has responded positively to Dhaka’s request for financial cooperation in important projects in Bangladesh.
The Chinese embassy recently informed the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that the list of 15 development projects submitted to Beijing, involving over US$8.69 billion, for inclusion in China’s 13th five-year plan (2016-2020), would be considered positively. “The embassy of China in Bangladesh avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the PMO of Bangladesh the assurance of its highest consideration,” the embassy wrote.
According to the letter, the Chinese side was negotiating positively for further cooperation, at this moment.
The projects are single-line, dual-line and dual-gauge railway tracks from Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar via Ramu and, from Ramu to Gundum near the Myanmar boarder; Dhaka-Chittagong railway chord line project; Padma rail link from Dhaka to Jessore; multi-lane road tunnel under the River Karnaphuli; digital connectivity for Bangladesh; expansion and strengthening of power system network under DPDC area; Payra sea port project; Dhaka-Ashulia elevated expressway; and Unit-2 of eastern refinery and single point mooring project.
The Chinese embassy also wrote that the other projects were also in the pipeline.
During her six-day visit to China last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had sought duty-free access of more Bangladeshi products to the Chinese market, and increased investment by Chinese entrepreneurs in Bangladesh.
She said a separate economic and industrial zone for Chinese investors in Chittagong was under her government’s consideration. Bangladesh and China inked five deals and two agreements—one memorandum of understanding (MoU) and two exchange of letters (EoLs)—to enhance bilateral cooperation in sectors such as trade and investment, power generation, and climate change.
The year 2015 will witness the 40th anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between the two friendly countries. With efforts on both sides, especially due to the PMO’s full support, bilateral trade and economic cooperation has achieved great development and success in the past few years.
The letter also said that the implementation of these projects will surely benefit the social and economic development of Bangladesh and further strengthen the functional cooperation between China and Bangladesh, in the infrastructure sector.
For better coordination and facilitation of these projects, it would be meaningful if a special high-level committee could be set up under the PMO, the Chinese embassy suggested.
PMO sources said Economic Relations Division (ERD) has been assigned to complete the negotiation regarding the Chinese offer.
ERD officials said the Chinese were yet to clear whether the financial assistance will be in the form of soft loan or buyer’s credit.