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Dhaka Tribune

WB wants no talks on Padma bridge fund

Update : 23 Apr 2013, 02:00 AM

The World Bank (WB) vice president, Isabel Guerrero has reportedly told the finance minister that it does not want any further discussion on the Padma bridge project funding, including any discussions on the governments decision to self-finance. The comment was made at a meeting on April 19 at the WB headquarters in Washington, DC.

At the meeting, Muhith requested the WB vice president to divert the fund to other projects. The request was officially rejected, the ministry official said.

She also told Muhith that WB was eager to invest in Bangladesh’s infrastructure and real estate sector.

According to the official, Guerrero told the minister that WB funding in other projects running in Bangladesh would be continued but the government would have to ensure good governance, accountability and transparency of those projects.

WB traditionally does not divert funds to other projects of a country if the fund was withdrawn on corruption charges, the official said.

Economic relations division secretary Abu Kalam Azad admitted that a meeting had been held between finance minister AMA Muhith and Guerrero on April 19 in Washington.

“We will know the outcomes of the meeting after the finance minister returns to Dhaka,” he added.

The global lender cancelled the loan contract on Padma bridge construction due to allegations of corruption on June 29 last year.  The government has since made several attempts to convince the WB to return to the project before finally deciding to self-finance.

On April 17, WB barred the Canadian company SNC-Lavalin from its projects for 10 years for attempting to bribe Bangladeshi officials to secure a contract on the bridge project.

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