Vol. 5 Num 221 Thu. January 06, 2005  
Front Page

Kuwait pledges $75m for 3 projects

Kuwait has made a fresh pledge of $75 million to finance three Bangladeshi projects, including the construction of the third Karnaphuli Bridge in Chittagong.

The two other projects to be financed by Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) are greater Chittagong Power Transmission and Distribution project (supplementary loan) and Ziaur Rahman Medical College and 500-bed Hospital in Bogra.

Bangladesh Ambassador to Kuwait Nazrul Islam Khan apprised journalists in the capital yesterday of the Kuwaiti funding plan.

Briefing the members of Diplomatic Correspondents Association Bangladesh (DCAB) at the Jatiya Press Club, he said Bangladesh has so far received $387 million in loan from the Gulf state for project financing.

Of the soft credit of $75 million, Khan said $ 40 million will be provided for third Karnaphuli Bridge project,, $15 million for greater Chittagong Power Transmission and Distribution project and $20 million for Ziaur Rahman Medical College and Hospital.

In reply to a question, he said negotiations are on with the Kuwaiti government for the recruitment of skilled manpower from Bangladesh in IT, engineering and other sectors.

At present about 180,000 Bangladeshi workers, mostly unskilled, are employed in different development sectors of Kuwait, altogether remitting the second highest amount of wage earnings from the Middle East after Saudi Arabia.

Besides, some 4,500 defence personnel (both in-service and retired) are working in Kuwait for cleaning up ammunition abandoned by Iraq during the Kuwait-Iraq war. Sixty medical doctors are also employed over there.

"There are enough opportunities for expanding cooperation between Bangladesh and Kuwait," the envoy said.

He said since the volume of trade between the two countries is quite insignificant, Bangladeshi businessmen can explore market for their products, including garments. Dhaka mainly imports petroleum from the oil-rich Gulf country.

Describing the bilateral relations as excellent, the ambassador said Kuwait Foreign Minister Mohammad Sabah is expected to visit Bangladesh shortly.

Khan, who played a vital role in freeing abducted Bangladeshi driver Abul Kashem from captivity, said the driver was picked up by the Islamic Army of Iraq on October 18 on his way to Baghdad and got freedom "by the grace of Allah".