Muhith hints at using reserves for Padma Bridge project

BSS, Dhaka :
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith on Sunday said the government might use the central bank’s reserve to finance the Padma Bridge project from internal resources.
“We may require money from the reserve of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) for issuing work order to build the Padma bridge,” the finance minister told a delegation of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA). The delegation, led by its President Jahangir Alamin, met the finance minister at his secretariat office.
The BTMA, an organisation for the owners of the country’s private textile mills, urged the finance minister to take necessary steps so they can get financial assistance from the central bank for importing machines and tools for the factories.
The finance minister assured them of financial assistance from banking sector, but said the central bank would maintain its strong reserve for the Padma Bridge project.
Minister of State for Finance MA Mannan told BSS that the government would complete in three months the tender process and award contracts for constructing the Padma bridge.
He also said the government would welcome financing from development partners, but it would go ahead with its own resources to fulfil the development agenda including construction of the Padma bridge and other priority projects.
Governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr Atiur Rahman earlier said the central bank would particularly try to build a strong foreign exchange reserve to provide fund to Padma Bridge project.
While announcing the monetary policy statement late last month, the governor said the central bank always helps government by financing imports of agriculture inputs and petroleum products, and similarly it would provide assistance to government in financing Padma Bridge from internal resources.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her determination to construct the Padma Bridge by local financing after the World Bank cancelled its $1.2 billion loan deal.
After the January 5 national election, the new government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made annoucement on six fast-tracked projects including construction of the Padma Bridge. The other projects are: Rampal thermal power plant, Rooppur nuclear power plant, metro rail, deep-sea port and a liquefied natural gas terminal.