The government is in search for Tk 2.43 trillion (243,000 crore) foreign financing to implement 15 large projects and has placed them in the current fiscal’s revised ADP book with a hope to find out potential lenders.
Even though the projects are still unapproved and, placing them in ADP book will highlight their importance and help the Economic Relations Division (ERD) start negotiation with lenders, Planning Commission officials informed.“The projects did not see any money allocation or project-wise approval, but National Economic Council (NEC) has approved them in principle so that getting foreign support becomes much easier,” said a planning ministry high official.
The total estimated budget of these large projects, having more than Tk 10,000 crore estimated budget for each, is Tk 2.71 lakh crore.
For instance, the government wants to construct a four-lane marine drive road from Sitakunda to Cox’s Bazar via Chattogram for which Tk 25,573 crore cost has been estimated. It has been placed in RADP book with a hope to get Chinese assistance.
ERD officials informed that they have got preliminary consent from the Chinese government for implementing six under-process large road and power projects on G2G basis.
According to primary negotiations, the government expects to get nearly Tk 95,000 crore financing from the Chinese government out of Tk 1.15 lakh crore estimated for these six schemes.
Besides, funding assurance for some other projects has come from other lenders like the World Bank, ADB, AIIB, IDB, JICA, the Malaysian government and other agencies, ERD officials informed.The government seeks to mobilize nearly Tk 30,000 crore foreign money from any sources to implement Ganga Barrage project by June 2021. The Planning Commission also approved the primary project proposal.
It also wants to implement five large power projects of Tk 89,587 crore of which it expects Tk 49,223 crore from China for four projects, while Tk 20,000 crore has been sought from the WB.
For the first time, the name of Malaysia is likely to be listed as a development partner. Malaysian government may provide Tk 13,389 crore out of Tk 16,389 crore for constructing east-west elevated expressway in Dhaka city.
Every year such projects are placed in ADP book for searching overseas funds to show them as government priorities and this project list help them during loan negotiations with development partners, ERD officials said.
Sometimes some projects are tagged with ADP books for years without any response from financiers, while the government has to start some of them with own financing, they added.
This year, a total of 256 medium and large projects have been placed in RADP with a hope to get some Tk 4 trillion in foreign funds.
Transport section has the highest number of 107 projects, the power sector has 34 projects, agriculture sector 28, education and religion 16, public administration 18, rural development and rural institution 8, industry 7, oil-gas and natural resources 5.
Physical planning and water resources sector has 11 projects, labour and employment 9, health, nutrition, population and family welfare 9 women and youth development 3, among others.
Given the current pace of economic development, Bangladesh can expect foreign money to implement some important projects in energy, power and physical infrastructure, economic analysts said.
But at the same time, they warned against taking loans from bilateral arrangements, especially from China at higher interest rates and stringent conditions, which in the long run might push the country into debt burden.