WB loan for new projects: Muhith

The World Bank was ready to give Bangladesh $1.2 billion to fund three projects, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said on Monday.

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The funding agency has taken this decision despite earlier misunderstandings over the Padma bridge project, in which the bank refused to participate.

The Washington-based lender has agreed to fund a social safety net, coastal embankments and the construction of modern food grain silos.

Muhith said it was a mere coincident that the bank would funnel $1.2 billion into these projects, a sum it was once ready pledge for the Padma multipurpose bridge project.

“The World Bank had promised a loan of $1.2 billion in the Padma bridge project. But several developments had prompted us to withdraw our request for the loan. But it’s very interesting that they’ve agreed to give the same amount for our three other projects,” he told reporters.

The bank was expected to clear the deal in mid-June. “We’ve talked with World bank officials in this regard,” the minister added.

He said the bank’s financial year would end in June and the following year’s work plan would be finalised by then.

The World Bank is likely to provide $500 million credit for social safety net, $400 million for coastal embankment and $300 million for the construction of modern food grains silos in various districts.

“After we withdrew our request (for Padma bridge funding), many had imagined that our relations with the World Bank had soured. But the approval of this $1.2 billion fresh loan has proved that perception wrong,” he said.

On June 30 last year, the World Bank had cancelled a $1.2 billion credit for the Padma bridge project, saying it had ‘credible evidence’ of a high-level corruption conspiracy among Bangladesh government officials and those of the Canadian construction firm, SNC Lavalin.

Source: UNBConnect

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