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Mega projects to bring about new economic boom

Published : 21 Nov 2021 10:31 PM

Bangladesh will enter a new era for accelerating economic development after 2022 as many mega projects may open during the time to ensure sustainable infrastructure development.

Economists said people will have a different Bangladesh from 2023 as three major development projects of the government including the Padma Bridge, Metrorail and Karnaphuli Tunnel will open.

They expect these three projects will boost economy by adding a minimum two percent GDP more and create a large number of jobs.

However, according to BBS, the country’s GDP growth rebounded to 5.47 percent in 2020-21 fiscal after a major slump in the previous fiscal amid the corona pandemic.

In 2019-20 fiscal year, GDP growth stood at 3.51 percent.

The last two fiscals’ growth figures were much lower than 8.15 percent and 7.86 percent growth registered in the previous two fiscal years (2018-19 and 2017-18) as Bangladesh’s economy faced a deep impact of Covid-19 during that time.

Shamsul Haque, professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), told the Bangladesh Post that the country will enter an iconic infrastructures era by opening three mega projects including the Padma Bridge, Metrorail and Karnaphuli Tunnel.

“It will add a different dimension in the country’s image after these projects are opened,” he added.

Dr Atiur Rahman, eminent economist and former governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB), told the Bangladesh Post, “Mega projects are both growth and employment multipliers. Padma Bridge alone will add 1.2 percent to our national GDP and more than 2 percent to the regional (i.e. Southern Bangladesh) GDP.”

He said this region will join the national connectivity network through this bridge in addition to potential Asian Highway. The producers from about 23 districts will have access to the vibrant Dhaka and adjoining growth hubs, he added.

“Consumers will also get industrial raw materials, products and other daily necessities from Dhaka and the adjoining districts faster. The time saved will add value to our producers. There will be a spurt in the growth of MSMES in southern districts due to this bridge,” he mentioned. 

The poverty will decline by more than one percent yearly just for the bridge, he said adding that, there will be a substantial growth in tourism in this part of Bangladesh. 

“Similarly, the opening of metro rail will make Dhaka a fast and smart city. People will get rid of traffic snarls and reach their destinations in a short time without environmental pollution by the vehicles. However, the tariff has to be moderate so that the low and middle income people can afford the rides,” Atiur further said.

The Karnafuli tunnel will also be an environment- friendly connectivity which will save time for many, he said adding that the tunnels are more cost-effective than bridges. 

“This will reduce cost of travel both for individual and commercial vehicles. The value addition to the economy can be substantial. I have not calculated the value addition but there will be huge gains in terms of GDP,” he mentioned.

Dr Shamsul Alam, State Minister for Planning, said Bangladesh will reach a new highway of development after 2022.

The country will get huge economic benefits from the year as the government will ensure sustainable infrastructure development after opening some mega projects including Padma Bridge, he mentioned.

Alam said we can add a significant share to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) after opening these projects.

However, the deadline of Padma bridge construction is June next year. Carpeting is underway on the bridge for traffic movement.  

Besides, installation of gas pipeline is progressing. The overall progress of the project is 88.75 percent while the progress of the main bridge construction is 95 percent.

Md Shafiqul Islam, Director of Padma bridge project, said, “There is no big challenge now. Work is progressing with deadline to open the bridge in June.”

On the other hand, the work progress of Karnaphuli tunnel is 74.33 percent. The tunnel will have two tubes for crossing.

Work on a tube has already been completed while construction of the remaining one is underway. As per the agreement, the project deadline is next December. Officials observed work is likely to be completed by the deadline.

Meanwhile, the overall progress of the country’s first metro rail construction project on the capital’s Uttara-Motijheel route is 72 percent. 

The project is being implemented in two phases. The government has already announced it would open metro rail on Uttra-Agargaon route in December next year. 

The progress of infrastructure work in this part is 89.61 percent.