BANGLADESH’S $2.9 BILLION PADMA BRIDGE FUNDING SUSPENDED!
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
A big infra project is in the pipeline in Bangladesh, which at projected budget of US $2.9 Billion is comparatively gigantic for a developing country. This is the Padma bridge project, which will traverse a river in the country.
As per report, the World Bank already decided to suspended the release of a US $1.2 Billion loan it allotted for the project. The question arising from the decision is: what’s the most reasonable justification for the delay?
I still recall the 11 Major Industrial Projects or MIPs in the Philippines in the 1980s, most of which relied on the World Bank for funding. The global recession came beginning in 1981, which then gave WB’s top management the justification to cancel the release of funding for the integrated steel and other projects. The act was tantamount to economic sabotage, which was so damaging that till these days PH’s suffers from an absence of integrated steel that is crucial to accelerating industrial development.
What’s WB’s drama this time in delaying the Padma project’s funding? Is this really a delay, or is this a cancellation of funding that is subtly a form of economic sabotage?
[Philippines, 31 October 2011]
World Bank Delays Padma Bridge Funding
Posted by Ivy Mungcal on 10 October 2011 03:49:27 AM
The World Bank has suspended the release of a $1.2 billion loan it promised for the construction of a river bridge in Bangladesh in light of corruption allegations faced by a firm participating in the project’s tender process, a senior Bangladeshi official has announced.
Some employees of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. are under investigation by Canadian authorities due to reports of possible corruption in connection to the $2.9 billion Padma River bridge construction project, Reuters says. The World Bank said it wants the issue resolved before providing the promised loan.
“The World Bank has cleared its position during the Washington meeting last week that it would not finance (the river project) until the issue was settled,” Bangladeshi Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said, according to Reuters.
This is the first time the World Bank has suspended any promised funds for Bangladesh and local officials have expressed concern over the impact of the bank’s decision on the country’s relationships with other lenders.
In addition to the World Bank, the Padma River project is supported by the Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Islamic Development Bank and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
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