Dhaka-Beijing may sign $7.61bn deals

PM’s visit to China July 1-4

Bangladesh and China are likely to sign several deals worth $7.61 billion loan for a total of ten mega projects during the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s four-day visit to China from July 1. A high up in the Ministry of Finance told Bangladesh Post, “During the Prime Minister’s visit, some loan agreements of mega projects are supposed to be signed between Bangladesh and China,”.

“The purpose of this visit is to strengthen the bilateral relations and at the same time follow-up the progress of 2016 visit,” the source also said. The projects involving a total of $7.61 billion has already been approved by the Executive Committee for the National Economic Council (ECNEC), the sources added.

The projects are --- Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway; Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone; Conversion of MG Railway Track into DG Railway Track in Akhaura of Sylhet Section of Bangladesh Railway and establishment of six full-fledged TV stations of Bangladesh Television.
Other projects also to be part of the loan deal are: Modernisation, rehabilitation and expansion of the public sector jute mills of the BJMC; establishment of digital connectivity; Rajshahi WASA Surface Water Treatment Plant and construction of double line (dual gauge) in the Joydevpur-Ishurdi section.

In addition, the two nations are likely to also sign two deals for $2.37 billion loan for two power projects during the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s four-day visit. Sources in the finance ministry said that of the total amount of the loan $1.4 billion will be for expanding and strengthening the power supply network under Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC).

The rest of $970.02 million will be spent for strengthening the power grid network under the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB). In last three years, $4 billion loan agreement has been signed for implementing five mega projects in G2G.In the latest development the Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Zhang Zuo met with Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan on June 13, 2019.

Sources of Bangladesh Railway told Bangladesh Post that the Chinese envoy has assured the railway minister for signing loan agreements of some mega project during the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit.Meanwhile, earlier, agreements for a total of 27 projects were signed during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Bangladesh in October 2016.

The ERD wrote to the Chinese authorities earlier this year and China responded to the letter on March 4 clarifying their project-wise opinions.The financing issue of the projects may come up for priority discussions during the Prime Minister’s upcoming China visit next month, the official said.

Besides these eight projects, the Bangladesh authorities have signed loan agreements to implement five projects—the Padma Bridge Rail Link project; development of a national ICT infra-network for Bangladesh government Phase-3 (Info-Sarker); construction of a tunnel under the river Karnaphuli; installation of single-point mooring with double pipeline, and modernisation of the telecommunications network for digital connectivity.