Memo for two dozen projects likely during Chinese President’s Visit

Nazmul Ahsan | Published at 12:56am on October 01, 2016

Two dozen projects have been included in the draft memorandum of understanding on ‘strengthening investment and production capacity cooperation’ likely to be inked between Dhaka and Beijing during the visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping in October 14-15.
Bangladesh has long been persuading China to implement the projects in energy and power, infrastructure and communication technology sectors, said a senior official at the economic relations division.
The memorandum, along with five other memorandums of understanding and four loan agreements, is expected to be okayed by the government by early this month as all the draft instruments have so far been discussed in a series of meetings within the ministries, officials.
The draft memorandum said that the projects would be implemented by Chinese concessional loan.
‘For the projects supported by Chinese concessional fund, Bangladesh side shall select Chinese enterprises for implementation according to its laws and Chinese relative policies, provide necessary convenience for the implementation enterprises such as equipment and material clearance, foreign exchange outflow and inflow, personnel immigration and working visas,’ reads the draft memorandum.
Of the projects, construction of tunnel under the river Karnaphully at a cost of $705.50 million and surface water treatment plant in Rajshahi at a cost of $500 million and installation of single point mooring with double pipeline at a cost of $500 million had their commercial contract signed between the two countries and loan application sent to Eximbank of China in August, an economic relations division official said.
Negotiations for commercial contract are under process for some other projects – expansion and strengthening of power system network under Dhaka Power Distribution Company area costing $2.35 billion, Padma bridge rail link costing $917 million, power grid network strengthening costing $1.32 billion, construction of Dhaka-Ashulia elevated expressway costing $1.39 billion, modernisation of telecommunication network for digital connectivity costing $200 million and establishment of full-fledged five television stations of Bangladesh Television costing $127.88 million.
The projects against which recommendation letters were sent recently from the finance ministry to the Chinese government for funding are: replacement of overloaded distribution transformer for supplying reliable electricity in rural electrification system at a cost of $280.59 million, water supply, sanitation, drainage and solid waste management for small size municipalities costing $150 million and balancing modernisation rehabilitation and expansion of the public sector jute mills at a cost of $280 million,
Project for ‘establishing digital connectivity’ at a cost of $1.0 billion that got no response from China was also included in the memorandum.
The other projects include China economic and industrial zone in Chittagong, Bangladesh garment industrial park, Dhaka-Sylhet four lane highway, marine drive expressway and coastal protection works from Sitakunda-Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar, Payra 2600MW coal fired thermal power plant, Zagaria 350MW coal fired thermal power plant, Dhaka-Chittagong railway project, Chittagong-Coxs Bazar railway project, system loss reduction by replacing five million electro mechanical energy meter with electronic energy meter.