FHM Humayan Kabir |
July 03, 2022 08:28:14
The government has requested extended support from the South Asia Sub-Regional Cooperation (SASEC), a regional financing window of the Asian Development Bank (AfDB), to improve cross-border communications, officials said on Saturday.
At a recent conference of SASEC countries, Bangladesh called for expanded support and asked the AfDB to establish a regional office in Dhaka.
Led by the Assistant Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD), Dr. Pear Mohammad, a delegation from Bangladesh took part in the SASEC conference.
“AfDB is assisting Bangladesh with better support from SASEC fund with the aim of improving regional road, rail, airport and port connectivity. We need more support than the current one to improve cross-border connectivity,” said a senior official. ERD official.
The Manila-based lender has so far confirmed $21.76 billion in loans for road, rail and port development in Bangladesh from its SASEC funding window, according to ERD data.
Of these funds, the AfDB provided $14.34 billion for road development, $3.205 billion for railway, $2.37 billion for port development and $1.85 billion for airport development. .
“Bangladesh has already started expanding all its national highways and cross-border economic road corridor. Huge financial support is needed in the coming years. So we have requested AfDB to extend its support to SASEC fund,” said the head of the ERD.
In addition to the AfDB loan program for Bangladesh, SASEC funds will be invested to connect national and regional highways with neighboring countries, he added.
The AfDB is currently financing the Joydevpur-Elenga-Rangpur road corridor from its SASEC fund with the aim of widening the national highways from two lanes to four lanes.
In addition, the AfDB is also financing other ongoing projects including the South Asia Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation Integrated Trade Facilitation Sector Development Program, Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor Road Investment Project of subregional economic cooperation in South Asia and the strengthening of the South Asian institutional mechanism. Sub-regional economic cooperation program.
The DRE official said Bangladesh now needs to set up a regional power transmission line for power trade with Nepal, Bhutan and India.
“Additionally, the road corridor through India is badly needed for Bangladesh to establish connectivity with other landlocked countries like Nepal and Bhutan. ‘open these energy and road corridors to improve the regional economic activities,’ added the DRE official.
“Since 2001, the AfDB has been managing its financing of SACEC from its headquarters. As the portfolio has reached a record number of amounts in recent years, we have requested the AfDB to set up a regional SACEC office in Dhaka”, said he added.
The Manila-based lender formed SASEC in 2001, made up of South Asian countries Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar, with the aim of facilitating l regional integration.
SASEC has prioritized six sectors including energy and electricity; transportation; tourism; environment; trade, investment and cooperation with the private sector; and ICT.