It will be difficult to implement projects funded by China, thinks those affiliated with the projects.
According to them, one of the main conditions imposed by China while promising loans was supplier’s credit. But using funds with this condition is tough.
Regarding this topic, Honorary Fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said: “How much of what we can implement of the treaty depends upon our efficiency, skill and discretion.”
On 2016, the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Bangladesh and signed 27 treaties and MoUs on coastal disaster management, building Karnaphuli tunnel and infrastructure development. Among these, the proposal of a loan of 24 billion dollars was one of the major deals.
How much of what we can implement of the treaty depends upon our efficiency, skill and discretion
Economic Relations Department (ERD) sources have said that, among those projects funded by China, building work for the Karnaphuli tunnel in Chittagong and a 1000 power megawatt thermal power plant in the Payra sea-port of Patuakhali, have started already. But most of the projects have not been touched yet.
When questioned on why the work for most of the projects have not started despite the signing of the treaties, Finance Deputy Minister M A Mannan replied: “The investment agreements signed during the visit of the Chinese president are considerably huge. It will take time to finish the work on them.
“It is not like the treaties will be implemented within one day,” continued the deputy finance minister. “There are no plans like that either. But since the treaties have been signed, they will be put into practice.”
Among those treaties signed, 28 development projects with $21.5 billion in foreign aid, an economic and technical cooperation agreement for $80.3 million grant and two framework agreements for constructing Karnaphuli tunnel and Dasherkandi plant are some of the major ones.
Other than that, Memorandum of Understanding have been signed under China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, for cooperation, maritime cooperation, joint feasibility study on a free-trade area, new ICT framework, counter-terrorism collaboration, capacity building and sharing of information, tackling climate change risks, regional and international cooperation, and cooperation on power and energy sectors.
According to ERD, China will invest $13.6 billion in private sectors alone. Other than that, investment agreements on government sectors worth several billion dollars have also been signed.
The six projects whose plaques were unveiled by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Xi Jinping during the president’s visit include the Karnaphuli Multi-Lane Tunnel project in Chittagong, the Confucius Institute at Dhaka University and the Tier-4 National Data Centre in Gazipur’s Kaliakoir, Shahjalal Fertiliser Company Limited in Fenchuganj, a 1320 megawatt thermal power plant in Patuakhali’s Payra and a 1320 MW coal-fired power plant in Chittagong’s Banshkhali.
The four economic treaties are- a 1320 megawatt thermal power plant in Patuakhali’s Payra, a specialized economic and industrial zone for China, the expansion of the Dhaka- Sylhet highway and a broadcasting licensing treaty.
Regarding the delay in starting the work for the projects, Finance Minister Abdul Mal Abul Muhit said, “All the projects do not fall under one ministry. The affiliated ministries are working towards completing the projects. Gradually, everything will be visualized.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com