Thursday, 7 July, 2022

A symbol of PM’s courageous leadership: Atiur

A symbol of PM’s courageous leadership: Atiur

Former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman has termed Padma Bridge as an iconic symbol of courageous leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who is leading Bangladesh's journey towards becoming a self-reliant economy.

“Defying all odds, Padma Bridge, the transformative infrastructure, is going to be inaugurated soon. This is an iconic symbol of a courageous leadership which derives strength from the fighting spirit embedded in our national psyche by Father of the Nation,” Prof Atiur Rahman told the Daily Sun ahead of the inauguration of Padma Bridge.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the Padma Bridge on Jun 25.

Dr Atiur said the bridge had to be constructed on the longest pillars of 128 cm depth in the world on the bed of a river which is only second to Amazon in terms of flow of water and the river had to be trained extensively to keep the flow of water on course.

“But the biggest challenge was to give a befitting reply to the global financial institution which suddenly withdrew its funding commitment unilaterally on a unsubstantiated allegation of ‘corruption' which was rightly quashed by the Canadian court,” he said.

The eminent economist hailed the Bangladesh Premier for taking such a bold decision to fund the project from the country's own resources including the foreign exchange reserves.

“She could aptly visualize that Bangladesh will earn enough foreign exchanges through its booming exports, particularly that from RMGs industries and robust inward remittances from abroad at the back of the fastest growing country in Asia,” added Dr Atiur.

The former governor further mentioned that Bangladesh Bank provided necessary regulatory comfort to the banking sector for providing desired foreign exchange support to the Padma bridge project out of this rising flow of foreign exchange.

Dr Atiur said the macroeconomic stability in Bangladesh which rightly anticipated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been providing the environment for smooth implementation of this project.

“No doubt, the experts say that there will be an addition of 1.26 percent in the national GDP and another 3.5 percent in the regional GDP through connectivity of the untapped 21 districts in the southwestern Bangladesh. In addition, the gas, electricity and internet pipelines will help faster growth of SMEs and manufacturing units like shipbuilding. The special economic zones and high-tech parks will push the economy up if desired forward and backward linkages are ensured,” he said.

Dr Atiur, also the chairperson of Unnayan Shamannay, hoped the Mongla and Pyara ports will add more fuel to the economic dynamism in the region.

He said international trade with neighboring countries like India, Nepal and Bhutan will see a spurt once the railways over the bridge are completed.

“The land price in the nearby districts of the bridge has already gone up by two to three times, signaling a robust growth in trade, commerce and industries in these districts. The tourist infrastructures are already expanding in these districts and will witness smarter urbanization if pursued under a a master plan,” added Dr Atiur.

According to the eminent economist, climate change-battered southwestern Bangladesh will see a reduction in poverty by more than one percent per annum and growth of employment for two hundred thousand job seekers.

“If scurried, the bridge will also attract a huge amount of investment both from local investors and NRBs if appreciate targeted bonds are launched. On the whole, the country will embark on a new path of growth trajectory as witnessed in South East Asia,” he said.

The construction of the 6.15 kilometre-long bridge began in December 2015 with Bangladesh's own funds. The first span was installed in September 2017.