Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal expressing resentment at the ministry officials, said that public sector entities have no success in running any tourism project
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has rejected a proposal of the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry, for construction of a tourism complex in Cox's Bazar at its own initiative, and wants the project to be implemented under the public-private partnership (PPP).
The ministry had moved to construct the tourism complex in Cox's Bazar at its own initiative after having failed to implement the project under PPP despite passage of five years, as no company showed interest to link up with it.
In a recent meeting, the Cabinet body turned down the ministry's proposal, and asked it to make further efforts to implement the project under the PPP model, official sources said.
The ministry decided to execute the project under its annual development program (ADP), but when the ministry placed its proposal before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on May 8 last, the committee rejected it outright.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, who presided over the meeting, expressing resentment at the ministry officials, said that public sector entities have no success in running any tourism project.
The minister then advised the Civil Aviation Ministry to implement the project as per the previous decision, if needed, by softening the conditions of the contract.
Account of the project
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) had undertaken a project to turn the Upol Motel Complex, on 5.70 acres of land in Cox's Bazar, into an international hotel complex under the PPP model.
On August 21 in 2014, when the ministry placed the project titled 'Establishment of International Standard Tourism Complex at existing Motel Upol Compound of BPC at Cox's Bazar, ' it received the approval.
Following the approval, PPP appointed Indian consultancy firm Feedback Infra Structure Advisory Services Private Ltd to conduct a feasibility study.
The Indian firm prepared a contract document, and the first bid was invited on February 22 in 2017 setting the upfront premium for the project at Tk12 crore, project development fee at Tk5 crore, and annual contract fee at Tk2 crore with provision for 5 percent increase per year. The contract period of the project was set at 50 years.
Orion Power Meghnaghat Limited was the lone bidder in the tender, but the tender evaluation committee considered it to be incompetent.
In such a situation, the PPP authority advised the BPC to ease the conditions of the tender, to make the project commercially viable, and lucrative for the private investors.
The tender was then invited for the second time on September 28, 2018 where the upfront premium was set at Tk6 crore, project development fee at Tk4 crore, annual contract fee Tk2 crore, with 3 percent increase per year, and tenure of contract at 25 years with provision for 15-year extension.
Yet, no bidder submitted bids for the project even on the last day of tender submission on November 11, 2018. Finally, the tender submission date was extended till December 11.
The ministry finally decided to withdraw the Upol Motel project from the PPP list, and implement it at its own, only to be rejected by the cabinet committee.