Reported on: July 09, 2012 18:49 PM
Reported in: National
Dhaka, July 9 (UNB) – Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Monday said the donors should be with the government in its efforts to construct the country’s biggest-ever Padma Bridge.
After attending a meeting with the development partners on the Padma Bridge project held at the ERD conference room in city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area, Muhith told reporters that he apprised the donors about his statement on the bridge that he placed before parliament recently.
There was no representation from the World Bank at the meeting. Representatives from other development partners including Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the United Nations, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), attended the meeting.
Contacted, an official at the World Bank’s Dhaka office told UNB that the WB Country Director usually takes part in such meetings. “But, the Country Director Ellen Goldstein is now in Washington, so there was no representation from the lending agency,” the official said.
Muhith said following the cancellation of $ 1.2 billion fund by the World Bank he had sought justice and evaluation from the donors on the issue and let the government be informed about their response.
He said the government had asked for a review by the World Bank adding, “It’s not simply to establish our position and prestige as we don’t accept this statement from the press note (WB). The statement was not true, kind of malign…,”
Replying to a question, the Finance Minister said he had not made any suggestion to the development partners in the meeting rather informed about the government’s response to the World Bank.
Economic Relations Division (ERD) of the Finance Ministry called the special meeting of the Local Consultative Group (LCG). UN Resident Coordinator and LCG Co-chair Neal Walker represented the development partners while ERD Secretary Iqbal Mahmood represented the government.
Uncertainty looms large over the construction of the Padma Bridge as the World Bank cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the project on June 29 on the grounds that it had evidence of a corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and private individuals.
However, the cabinet meeting on Monday decided not to discuss or request World Bank about the financing of the much-talked-about Padma bridge project.
It also decided to start the construction work on the bridge with its own fund immediately, Cabinet Secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters emerging from the cabinet meeting.
Earlier in parliament on Sunday night, the Prime Minister said the government will build the Padma Bridge with its own funds and construction work will begin in the current fiscal year.
Sheikh Hasina also laid out a specific plan to build the mega project, estimated to cost around Tk 22,544 crore.