INDIA EXTENDS $2B NEW LOC
India has agreed to provide Bangladesh with a new Line of Credit (LoC) worth USD 2 billion. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed between the two countries at the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday. The announcement of the fresh Line of Credit came from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a joint statement issued at the Prime Minister’s Office of Bangladesh yesterday.“We are pleased to extend another line of credit of $2 billion to support infrastructure and other development activities in Bangladesh,” Modi said. “Our development partnership is scaling new heights. The quick implementation of the line of credit of $800 million and full disbursement of $200 million in grant is a tribute to our cooperation,” he added.
“We stand at a moment of huge opportunity in our relationship. Prime Minister Hasina and I recognise that,” the Indian Prime Minister said, adding that Indian investments in Bangladesh will help. “I will also try to make trade smoother and easier, including at the border. The agreement on standards and testing is a step in that direction,” he observed. Both countries also hope to boost bilateral trade through the coastal shipping agreement between the two sides. Under the agreement, the Indian Economic Zone will promote Indian investments in Bangladesh.
Senior Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) Mohammad Mejbahuddin told The Independent that they had earlier proposed 13 projects critical for social and infrastructure development in Bangladesh. The projects proposed to the authorities included those in the fields of power, road transport, Railways, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), shipping, health and technical education.
India’s move to extend a fresh LoC comes on the heels of Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali seeking one during his visit to the neighbouring country in September last year.
Earlier, during the visit of the then Indian PM Manmohan Singh in September 2010, the first Indian LOC amounting to USD 1 billion, was signed in Dhaka to finance development projects such as rail and road improvements, procurement of buses and rail coaches, etc.
According to sources, the Economic Relations Division (ERD) had requested the Indian authorities for a second LoC at different bilateral LoC review meetings.
The second LoC is essential for funding new projects under different ministries. Indian authorities recently proposed to implement three additional projects under the new LoC. These include the Ishwardi container depot, strengthening of the Ashuganj-Akhaura road and the Ashuganj inland container terminal.
Some projects finalised by the ERD could avail funding from the second LoC.
These include procurement of 500 tracks for BRTC for USD 35.39 million and double-decker and articulated buses for BRTC at USD 44.10 million. Procurement of equipment and machinery for roads and highways for USD 49.49 million could also be done thorugh the fresh Indian LoC. Projects regarding higher education and skill development in ICT for $10 million, establishment of IT/hi-tech parks in twelve districts for $193 million could also see some held with the amount.
The Barapukuria-Bogra-Kaliakoir 400 KV line project for USD 210.67 million; construction of new carriage workshop in Syedpur railway workshop including feasibility study for $85 million; conversion of metre gauge line to dual gauge line in Parbatipur-Kawnia section of Bangladesh Railway for USD 105 million; construction of a double line, including signalling, on the Khulna-Darshana section of Bangladesh Railway for USD 300 million; development of Ashuganj river port at Dharkhar, Akhaura Land Port (road length: 50.87km) for USD 229.78 million; establishment of inland container river port at Ashuganj $33.46 million are also some crucial infrastructure projects finalised by the ERD that could be funded through the new Indian LoC.
JUNE 07, 2015