June 29, 2016
Honorable State Minister of Finance, Mr. M.A. Mannan, MP,
His Excellency Mr. Masato Watanabe, Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh,
Mr. Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Additional 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 37th Official Development Assistance Loan Package for Bangladesh. The ODA Loan package is comprised of 6 projects amounting in total to 174 billion Yen, equivalent to approximately 130 billion Taka, covering crucial sectors, namely disaster management, transportation, and energy and power.
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-year grace period. The 37th 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 the year 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. To date, 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 thus far. I am sure that our development cooperation will continue to be of immense help to Bangladesh in its endeavors to become a middle income country by the year 2021 and a developed country by 2041.
Here, I would like to briefly touch upon each of the six projects:
JICA has agreed to the 2nd tranche of loan for Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project. The project will alleviate traffic congestion and improve air pollution in Dhaka by constructing the first-ever mass rapid transit system in Bangladesh. Tokyu Construction Co., Ltd of Japan has begun to develop Depot Land this month as scheduled. All other contract packages are now or will soon be under bidding process.
We have agreed to the 2nd tranche of loan for Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Project as well. This project will alleviate shortage of power generation and improve stable power supply in Bangladesh by constructing 2 units of 600MW Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Plant in Matarbari Island, 100 km south of Chittagong City. Penta-Ocean Construction Co., Ltd of Japan started preparatory work for power plant and port facilities in early March this year. All other contract packages are now under bidding process.
Cross-Border Road Network Improvement Project will improve intercity transport and logistics networks, thereby invigorating trade and communication with neighboring countries. The project will replace and construct bridges on or connecting to Asian Highways including 690-meter Kalna Bridge which is "the last missing link" of the Dhaka-Kolkata Corridor after Padma Bridge.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Promotion Project will facilitate installation of equipment that promote energy efficiency and coservation by extending concessional loans and technical support for operation and maintenance.
Disaster Risk Management Enhancement Project will strengthen comprehensive disaster risk management of the Government of Bangladesh by rehabilitating infrastructure at high natural-disaster risk, providing equipment for search, resucue and relief operations, and establishing a scheme for quick and effective recovery, thereby making Bangladesh more disaster-resilient.
Jamuna Railway Bridge Construction Project will improve capacity and safety of railway transportation to and from the Northwestern part by constructing a dedicated railway bridge of 4.8 kilometer over the River Jamuna at 300-meter north from the existing Bangabandhu Bridge (Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge). This first loan will cover engineering services.
In closing, I would like to ask the Government of Bangladesh to ensure 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.