December 13, 2015
His Excellency Mr. Masato Watanabe, Ambassador of Japan,
Mr. Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Assalam alaikum, Namaskar, Good Afternoon.
It is my great honor to be here today to sign on behalf of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, loan agreements of Japan's 36th Official Development Assistance Loan Package for Bangladesh. The ODA Loan package is comprised of six projects amounting in total to 133 billion Yen, equivalent to approximately 87 billion Taka, covering crucial sectors, namely health, urban safety, transportation, governance, electric power and investment climate.
This package is the largest ever in the history of Japan's ODA to Bangladesh with the most favored terms like the preceding packages, that is, the interest rate of 0.01% and the repayment period of 40 years including 10- years grace period. The 36th ODA Loan package is well in conformity with the commitment made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to provide up to 600 billion Yen to Bangladesh in about 4 or 5 years from 2014.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Since the establishment of bilateral relations between Japan and Bangladesh in February 1972, the two countries have been genuinely taking care of strengthening the bond all the way. Japan has provided Bangladesh about 1 trillion Yen of ODA loans, 500 billion Yen of grants and 65 billion Yen of technical cooperation. We at JICA are very proud of having been assisting the people and the government of Bangladesh in their efforts that have resulted in great achievements. I am sure that our development cooperation has been and will be of immense help to Bangladesh in its endeavors to become a middle income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041.
Here, I would like to briefly touch upon each of the six projects:
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Promotion Project will improve investment climate through facilitating development of economic zones and providing soft loans for private companies to improve their infrastructural environment like approach roads. The project will produce a synergy effect with JICA's ongoing techical cooperations for improving business environment and formulating industrial policies.
Dhaka-Chittagong Main Power Grid Strengthening Project will improve the stability and reliability of electricity supply to industrial and commercial zones by constructing high voltage transmission lines between Dhaka and Chittagong. The project will bring out maximum effects of Matabari Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Plant which is under way with Japan's ODA Loan.
Western Bangladesh Bridge Improvement Project will promote reliable and efficient road transport network. In the wake of Eastern Bangladesh Bridge Improvement Project which has constructed 63 bridges with Japan's ODA Loan, the project will replace and construct around 60 bridges on National Highways and District Roads in the western side of Bangladesh.
Upazila Governance and Development Project will enhance the capacity of Upazila Parishad to deliver effective public services to citizens by providing training programs and fund for development activities. The project is to extend the so-called Link Model which was developed by JICA's technical cooperation to achieve an effective and efficient use of development fund by encouraging people's participation in local governments and improving accountability of government officials to people.
Urban Building Safety Project will strengthen the safety of public and private urban buildings. The project will retrofit 12 fire stations and construct new Fire Service & Civil Defense HQs in Dhaka to save lives during earthquakes and other disasters. The project will also provide medium-to-long term soft financing to RMG and other private companies for retrofitting or reconstruction of their factories.
Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health and Health System Improvement Project will improve the health status of the people of Bangladesh through improving service provisions at all levels of health facilities. The project will build the remaining 300 community clinics in remote areas and provide support to address lifestyle-related deseases by early detection and treatment.
Finally, I hope the Government of Bangladesh will take necessary actions for proper and smooth implementation of these six projects so that the people of Bangladesh would receive maximum benefits at the earliest time.
Shobaike Onek Donnobad. Thank you very much.