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Monday, July 9, 2012
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Padma bridge with own funds

PM lays out plan in JS, says construction begins this fiscal year and ends in 2015-16

The government will build the Padma bridge with its own funds and construction work will begin in the current fiscal year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced in parliament yesterday.

She said the mega project, estimated to cost around Tk 23,000 crore, would be completed within fiscal year 2015-16.

The prime minister was delivering her concluding speech in the budget session of the House, which was prorogued last evening.

She urged the global lenders not to put up “unnecessary obstacles” to Bangladesh's development efforts.

Hasina's announcement came nine days after the World Bank pulled out of the bridge project, citing a corruption conspiracy.

In her address, she sketched out how her government would arrange the money for the project from various sources.

Terming “unprecedented” the response she had received from people in the last few days in support of the government's plan for building the bridge with local resources, Hasina said she was overwhelmed by the way they had expressed their enthusiasm.

She added: “We will not bow to anybody. We can in no way accept the huge damage the World Bank has done to Bangladesh on lame excuses. No Bangalee can accept the allegation of corruption by the World Bank when not a single penny was released for the project.”

Criticising the WB for delaying her government's move to build the bridge, she said, “The construction cost has increased due to the delay. I will ask the finance minister to seek compensation from the World Bank.”

Hasina also accused the global lender of instigating other lending agencies, including the Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Jica, not to provide funds for the Padma bridge project.

HOW TO RAISE FUNDS
The premier said the government had lately estimated the construction cost of the bridge on a year-to-year basis.

According to the estimate, Tk 3,197 crore will be needed in the current fiscal year, Tk 7,868 crore in 2013-14, Tk 7,786 crore in 2014-15 and Tk 3,785 crore in 2015-16 to complete the project.

Citing the allocation of Tk 55,000 crore in the ADP for this fiscal year, Hasina said she had already discussed the matter with some ministries, and they had said they would not take their entire allocations in the current year's budget.

“It is possible to save Tk 24,000 crore from the ADP. For this, we will have to be economical and may have to cut some development work under different ministries. But again, construction of the Padma bridge is also development work and will generate employment for many,” she said.

The government would be able to begin the construction work soon, and will not waste any more time.

The prime minister said the government had earmarked Tk 1,500 crore for infrastructure development and Tk 3,000 crore in the public-private partnership fund. Besides, a certain amount of money had been allocated for the Padma bridge in the budget.

The government had also decided to issue sovereign bonds to collect $750 million.

Besides, her government might levy a surcharge as was done for the construction of the Jamuna bridge. “We will also welcome any foreign investment in this project,” she added.

Giving a breakdown of the Padma bridge costs, Hasina said Tk 15,000 crore would be spent for construction of the main portion of the bridge; Tk 7,200 crore for river training; Tk 1,281 crore for building Jajira approach road; and Tk 310 crore for Mawa approach road.

She said her government had already spent Tk 1, 500 crore on land acquisition and rehabilitation purposes.

SLAMMING WB
In a blistering attack on the World Bank, she said the country's jute industries and railway sector had been destroyed through accepting the global lender's prescription. The no-subsidy recommendation for agriculture came from the same organisation.

“They want us to beg. They want us to continue as guinea pigs …. But we don't take alms; we take loan and return it with interest.”

Hasina also observed that being a partner of the lending agency, Bangladesh had the right to know if its account was audited regularly and if it had any balance sheet. The bank should also disclose what its officials did and how they spent money.

The prime minister said everything had been done openly in dealing with the WB regarding the Padma bridge project. “Our finance minister met all their requirements.”

Treasury bench MPs supported Hasina's speech by thumping their desks.

RESPONSE
Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, the prime minister disclosed her mobile phone numbers and e-mail address and asked people to inform her about any allegation of corruption.

Yesterday, she said she had received a huge response from home and abroad and most of the callers supported her stance on the WB issue.

She said many Bangladeshi expatriates had told her that they would work hard to send more remittance to help build the Padma bridge.

Hasina said even school students had phoned her and said they would contribute by saving from their tiffin money.

At this stage, the lawmakers announced they would donate a month's salary for the construction of the bridge.

Speaking for around an hour, the prime minister described her government's various development activities.

Earlier, Speaker Abdul Hamid proposed that the government might impose a 25-paisa tax per phone call to collect funds for the Padma bridge.

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Congratulations prime minister. Best wishes for the Padma Bridge construction. World Bank got a good lesson. World should be declared unwanted in Bangladesh and remove its office.

: Azizul Rasel

PM, let us first see the plan of borrowing Tk 32 thousand crore which is deficit in 12/13 FY budget.

: Fayez, Dhaka

Comments

  • Anonymous
    Monday, July 9, 2012 12:32 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    It is not possible for Bangladesh at this moment to implement the Padma bridge project on its own. Money is not the only issue, there are lots of other issues which our leaders cannot even dream of.

  • A Choudhury
    Monday, July 9, 2012 01:50 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    I wish to congratulate the Prime Minister for her heroic resolution to start the Padma Bridge construction soonest. Your courage & determination would bring forth the resources from our heroic nation. However, we should not be vindictive with the WB, since we need their help in other financial matters.

  • Roni Rahman
    Monday, July 9, 2012 02:06 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    Are we collectively a nation of fools? It seems AL would rather make the people of Bangladesh pay for the corruptions and failures of her officials. Why should people bare the extra costs, both with respect to other ADP projects that would now be cut and debt/bond issuance? Funding via WB, would have been extra outside money and almost free than arranging from our own.

  • Rawshan Iajdani
    Monday, July 9, 2012 02:12 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    It's not WB but you being arrogant. The domestic fund can be managed but you have to say bye to 7.3% growth rate that your finance minister projected for the next fiscal. We need to increase the share of our investment to the GDP to achieve that kind of growth rate. When you cut spending on other development project, you cut government share of investment. Besides WB loan could bring much needed foreign currency to the economy which you lost. You still have time to punish the corrupt Abul Hossein. I also thank WB for their stand against corruption. At last somebody made stand against corruption in Bangladesh even though, that is foreign donor. I appreciate it.

  • suahmed
    Monday, July 9, 2012 03:27 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Whichever fund you use in building Padma Bridge you must be transparent and flawless. Every penny of our exchequer is valuable and hard earned for our poor nation and must be utilized in the best manner to get the best result. The whole nation will be happy if such a high profile project is implemented by our own resource.

  • Proud_Bangalee
    Monday, July 9, 2012 03:31 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Bravo Sheikh Hasina! This is the not the old broken Bangladesh, we can stand on our feet and fight back. I am proud of the way this government, especially the PM has stood up to for her people. This is true leadership.

  • Zubayer
    Monday, July 9, 2012 03:35 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Congratulation. but still I am confused. Why don't we find out the original corrupt man who wanted to have a minimum percentage from the Padma Bridge project as a bribe? This is my personal opinion. Don't take it as a government issue.

  • polosh
    Monday, July 9, 2012 03:56 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Bravo Prime minister. No more begging to any so-called development partners. Enough is enough. Time to show the middle finger to this anti-poor, capitalist establishment. The world bank should be renamed as any american bank as only american citizens are eligible for top post.

  • Anonymous
    Monday, July 9, 2012 03:58 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Why is Bangladesh becoming independent financially even after 40 years of independence ? In 40 years Bangladesh received billions of dollars of loans and aid but no significant development has taken place there. Where did the money go. It is a good decision to responsibility now. Do not depend on foreign countries which induces you o be corrupted. Depend on your own. Hopefully you will not steal your money.

  • Translucent
    Monday, July 9, 2012 04:40 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    She may win political brown points but this is unrealistic! It will hamper other development projects, inflation will rise, Taka will devalue and cost of import will rise significantly.

  • Kazi Salim
    Monday, July 9, 2012 06:03 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    It would be a daring and uncompromising task to be done without the loan money from the World Bank. We should not compromise and bow down our heads and comply with whimsical dictation of the money interest mongers of the World Bank. The Indian govt has also ignored in the past all sorts of the World bank and ADB's illegal directives and pre-conditions in borrowing money with high interest rates. We have constructed Bangabandhu bridge on the river Jamuna, with a major portion of internal revenues. We the Bangladeshi people should show the world bank that Bangladesh can do without the help of the interest suckers, seating at the Washington DC. Other countries should follow the same instance. But strict monitoring should be imposed on any wrongdoers. Brutal action against any corruption in building this significant bridge should be desired by the people of Bangladesh and the govt has to ensure that without any fear or favor.

  • skhan
    Monday, July 9, 2012 06:29 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    The world is changing and World Bank needs to know and understand we will not be chess piece for them any longer.

  • Mohsin Patwary
    Monday, July 9, 2012 06:30 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    I am 100% agree with our Prime Minister. We are ready to contribute for Padma Bridge whenever required by our PM.

  • maniruzzaman ranju
    Monday, July 9, 2012 06:32 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    We feel proud, PM!

  • SDG
    Monday, July 9, 2012 06:34 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Thats called true patriotism and leadership. I am pleased to go through the plan of building the Padma Bridge by using our own fund. Let's start the job from now.

  • Al amin
    Monday, July 9, 2012 06:38 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    People are not agree with corrupt government.

  • mehbub rahman
    Monday, July 9, 2012 06:48 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Please go ahead. All nations are with you except some broker of World Bank.

  • Shahidul A. Lasker
    Monday, July 9, 2012 07:05 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    It is nothing new, prime minister played another political game to make fool the innocent people. It will be a another disaster to initiate using own fund. Inflation will go up, Bank will have liquidity problem. There will be huge corruption to select the contractor and finally it will be a totally failed project.

  • Mahfuj
    Monday, July 9, 2012 07:05 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Definitely,we want Padma bridge as soon as possible. However, worsening economy as the cost will be a huge burden and compromising with the quality of the bridge will be a irreparable loss for us in future. I think our PM will not follow that way. It is better to start some work of approach road and continue to negotiate with the donors.

  • kishore
    Monday, July 9, 2012 07:16 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    This is really a bold statement like a leader. But because money will come from our people's fund it must be 100% corruption free. Otherwise future only knows what will be our fate. Another concern, it may be difficult to get interested officials to work for the project because many people may not be willing to work for this project without having stealing or corruption facility. However, I don't want to bring the negative matters here.

  • Akram hussain
    Monday, July 9, 2012 07:16 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Prime Minister, this is time to come out from the trap of WB. WB wants to keep us knell down. We will develop our own country in our way. We are independent nation. We will not bow down head to any body. If necessary, we will live on grass for five years for construction Padma bridge. We are behind you. Go ahead. We shall not receive any loan from any organization at the cost of our honor and prestige.

  • Mohammad Jashim Uddin
    Monday, July 9, 2012 10:48 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    If there were no corruption, why wouldn't you take any step where WB suggested to catch the corrupted persons? Government is playing rat and cat game with people. Remember emotion can work in personal affair(love) but not in building the Padma Bridge. We can admit you if you are able to regain our national prestige. Moreover, you have no tendency to repent for committing crime. Please, be patriotic and change the mentality .

  • Y Husain
    Monday, July 9, 2012 07:35 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    While we have the knowledge and expertise to pull this off. Will the government have the discipline that is required? I hope our nonresident Bangladeshi experts are called in and enrolled into the project.

  • Dr. Ahsan Habib, USA
    Monday, July 9, 2012 08:02 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    If such a huge sum of money can be raised from ADP then why there is a deficit projected in the ADP? I hope government will be more transparent in this and all future actions. Anything not transparent is not acceptable.

  • Fida Likhon
    Monday, July 9, 2012 08:17 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    I think PM Sheikh Hasina is brave lady and is also honest. But I am not confident whether she will be able to control the greedy ministers and secretaries. Because when ministers and secretaries see that there are some commission money which can be easily earned through some channels, that is where the corruption starts.

    PM, you know very well that if foreign funds give loan, Bangladesh will have to pay interest and if Bangladesh can construct bridge by its own fund, Bangladesh can save millions of dollars. But once again, please keep your strict eyes on ministers and secretaries so that a single paisa does not go to their pocket through any sort of channels.

  • Mayen Uddin Tazim, former Advisor, UNDP
    Monday, July 9, 2012 08:19 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Thanks to Prime Minster for showing her bravery decision and self- initiative in building the Padma Bridge by accumulating own resources. This initiative definitely will also encourage the nation for reducing dependency on the donors like World Bank. Notwithstanding, govt. could have the same decision earlier for this purpose and in future, we should have to try to build the infrastructures and development programs like Padma Bridge by using our own resources.

  • শনিবারের চিঠি
    Monday, July 9, 2012 08:29 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    This is the first time, when a leader of Bangladesh can be committed boldly to build our own bridge with our own ability. Thanks a lot our beloved Prime Minister.

  • Imam Haqe
    Monday, July 9, 2012 08:30 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Congratulations! Emotion does not work very well always. It's not only collecting fund. Construction of this type of bridge needs huge foreign purchase, which need foreign currency. Draining out so much money from domestic resources will certainly collapse the economy of the country and that will anger people more. Please consult with the distinguished financial analysts and economists who will give you honest advise. Please do not depend only on your paid advisers.

  • Abul Kashem
    Monday, July 9, 2012 09:23 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    We have already seen various pledges and promises of the present leadership and have bitter experience about these. No wonder what surprise awaits for the nation in future before the next election.

  • Freeman
    Monday, July 9, 2012 09:32 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Robin is right that building bridge by our own money will increase the value of dollars against Taka, and this will give the oppositions to show people that economy of Bangladesh has become worse. But the ultimate fate of Bangladesh will be better because, if Bangladesh can construct bridge by its own money, it can save millions of Taka. If you take money from WB or any other foreign funds, you have to give interests that will go from Bangladesh. So, the best policy is not to take loans from others. Let us encourage Sheikh Hasina and if she can, the history will appreciate her.

  • Sanwar Moni
    Monday, July 9, 2012 09:36 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Congratulations, Prime Minister. Whole nation with you.

  • Ummah Mostofa
    Monday, July 9, 2012 10:35 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    That such a nice idea and hope it will be fulfill and we can proof the whole world that yes we can do it without help of 3rd party, with our own money. Good job and good luck.

  • Hasan Tareque
    Monday, July 9, 2012 11:16 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    I think for the government the real problem is the 'image crisis'. With ministers like Abul Hossain, Suranjit who have been pointed out several times. Still in the cabinet, people find it difficult to believe government version of the story that there was no corruption in the Padma Bridge Project. World Bank did not fund the Padma bridge project because of alleged corruption charges against few top government officials. Why Prime Minister does not take any action against the persons for whom our country is in real crisis today?

  • Hafeejul Alam
    Monday, July 9, 2012 11:30 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    This is undoubtedly a bold step and we wish it god speed. However, the government may also explore PPP in dealing with the project. Further, as there has already been provision of whitening black money in the current, budget, the government may extend this facility to those who would invest in Padma Bridge giving them incentive of non- tax deduction plus 5% interest. If these could be done successfully, no foreign investment would be necessary for this project at all.

  • Anon Too
    Monday, July 9, 2012 11:43 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    No democracy can allow the PM alone to make such a decision, without national consensus.

  • dr islam
    Monday, July 9, 2012 11:43 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    We appreciate the PM for her decision. But it must not be a bypass to corruption allegation, we need to address that with equal firmness. No one should think 'own fund' is free to misappropriate. Because at the end of the day poor people will have to pay.

  • Rubo
    Monday, July 9, 2012 11:44 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Padma Bridge is important for us but more important is erradicating corruption.


  • Monday, July 9, 2012 12:24 PM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Who will prevent corruption? Now government is planning to eat-up citizen's money.

  • Neon
    Monday, July 9, 2012 12:31 PM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    So, we are going to build the bridge at the cost of our economy. The govt. cant take any action against corrupt people and instead losing friends inside and outside Bangladesh. Shame on you AL and PM.

  • Shaheda Akter Neelu
    Monday, July 9, 2012 12:38 PM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Congratulation Prime Minister to take heroic decision to build Padma bridge by our own finance. We do not want to remain as a nation only begging. Now it is the time for us to raise up. It will be very much challenging to build Padma bridge against WB but we all are with you. We have to depend on our own self. We wish, nobody will steal money. We desire our idependence nation only utter but also prove our self. Go ahead, we all are with you.

  • Outspoken
    Monday, July 9, 2012 12:39 PM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Eventually, the pressure would be on our local banks. The government will threaten and force them to lend it money. Awami League is very good at it.

  • Mir Mizan, Comilla
    Monday, July 9, 2012 12:45 PM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    She is deliberately creating high hopes in our mind only for us to be disillusioned at the end.

  • minhaj u ahammad
    Monday, July 9, 2012 12:50 PM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Very nice initiative on behalf of your govt. I appreciate your boldness to say the global concern that we learn only to do with our supreme sacrifice and indeed. But do everything with sincerity and national zeal.

  • Shahid
    Monday, July 9, 2012 01:00 PM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    It is not only about money. BD does not have the technical and financial ability. We have to be ready with US$, it will be nearly impossible in a short period of time. There are issues of raw material, consultants and equipments, that will have to be renegotiated. It will take a lot of time. May be many years. Padma bridge is not that urgent. It is just a political wishdom. So, go slow. Try to renegotiate with donors/funders. Do not force people to suffer please.

  • Faisal
    Monday, July 9, 2012 03:53 PM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Frankly, this kind of heroic talk is possible because it is the money of the people which will be used. it will be easier to siphon a few billion easily which could not be done from WB funds. So my fellow brothers, who are ecstatic with delight that we are going to build the Padma Bridge by ourselves...you will feel the hardship for years even after 5 election terms.

  • Mustaq Ahmed , Bluffton Ohio
    Monday, July 9, 2012 07:23 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Building a bridge is not more important than good governance and eliminating corruption as a national disease.

  • KAZI NAZMUL HOSSEN
    Monday, July 9, 2012 12:38 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    Prime Minister, please go ahead with your leadership we hope anyhow your government will able to do this mega project and give a small lesson to World Bank.

  • BD Pride
    Monday, July 9, 2012 12:15 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    There always is a price for freedom. For countries like Bangladesh that price is at times higher. WB, it seems was hell bent on cancelling the loan. They have also managed to very shrewdly in the name of due process, jack up time and subsequently money that is needed to build the project. It is now a matter of national existence. Are we a nation who will allow others to dictate our destiny? Are we a nation who are at least capable of trying to solve our problems or are we the type that are subservient?

  • Mizan Rahman
    Monday, July 9, 2012 12:39 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    Cancellation of loan for Padma Bridge by WB and ADB is a national crisis. We hope no one will take chance to do politics by capitalizing this national crisis. We also hope every one will come forward to help build this bridge as we did in 1971 by defeating the Pakistan Army who were engaged to obstacle our independence. The government is responsible to create consensus among the whole nations. Finally we hope we will be able to build this bridge.

  • MH Uddin
    Monday, July 9, 2012 12:54 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    Hope your pledge and determination will continue until the final phase of the Padma project. If this project gets successful, it would be a noteworthy message to the world community and also a milestone for our pride and prestige as nation.

  • Robin
    Monday, July 9, 2012 01:02 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    PM is ignoring the leading economists' analysis of negative impact of using local fund to build the Bridge. You do not build Padma Bridge by using non-convertible currency. Tapping US Dollar will immediately bring Taka-Dollar conversion to over 100 Taka for $1. Padma bridge can quickly turn into economic nightmare for AL during the next election.

  • TAFAZZUL KARIM
    Monday, July 9, 2012 01:04 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    In 1971, we fought against the will of USA and other big countries and in nine months we gained independence. Why not we build Padma Bridge by ourselves and show the world that we can achieve what Bengali nation want in the face world bank. We have proven in 1971 that a unified can achieve their goal defying big power.

  • Saif
    Monday, July 9, 2012 01:04 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    PM, I feel proud of your boldness and good thinking but, does the Padma Bridge hold the position of very necessity of our economy or other else? I do not know what to say because, I am not an economist. Please, let the economists think about our doings in this tough time. It is not time to be over optimistic, but time for optimum optimistic.

  • niloufar sarker
    Monday, July 9, 2012 01:29 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    According to Forbes magazine, the WB is rifted with corruptions of all kinds including financial, to the tune of billions. The officials of WB enjoy arrogance matched with salaries & perks that rival mega financial banks of the Wall street. It's very easy to talk high & mighty from well feathered nest, about perceived corruptions in BD. If it's that easy to eradicate entrenched corruptions, why did it fail to clean it's own house?

  • Quamrul
    Monday, July 9, 2012 01:32 AM GMT+06:00 (94 weeks ago)

    Sheihk Hasina is a brave Bangladeshi leader. This is the right way. Build the Padma bridge with Bangladesh's own money. It is not a poor country any more. Plus borrowing from the market place $750 million using Bangladesh's good sovereign bond rating is the right step and should be sued to borrow money for future Padma 2 bridge and other national infrastructure.


 

 


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