Bangladesh signs $2.76 billion loan deal with China’s Exim Bank for Padma Bridge rail links

Bangladesh has signed a $2.76 billion credit deal with China’s Exim Bank to implement the Padma Bridge rail links project.

Published : 27 April 2018, 04:36 PM
Updated : 27 April 2018, 05:36 PM

Economic Relations Division Additional Secretary Md Zahidul Haque and China Exim Bank Vice-President Sun Ping put pen to paper in Beijing on Friday, Bangladesh Railway said in a statement.

Zahidul is heading a six-member delegation that is in China now for signing the contract.

Officials of project contractor China Railway Engineering Corporation and economic counsellor at the Bangladesh High Commission in China, Md Jahangir, among others, were present.

The Tk 350 billion project is for laying 172km railway tracks over the Padma Bridge from Dhaka to Jessore.

It is among the 27 deals including 12 loan and mutual agreements that Bangladesh and China signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Dhaka visit in 2016.

China promised Tk 250 billion for the project while Tk 100 billion will come from the Bangladesh government.

A top ERD official, however, told in March that China was cutting the funds for the rail link project.

Finally, the deal has been signed for $2.76 billion or over Tk 229 billion credit, which is around 12.06 percent less than the promised funds.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had said the rail communications must start when the bridge opens, she said.

The railway ministry then told the Prime Minister’s Office in November 2016 that the rail ink project must be rolled out in January 2017 for launch in 2019 along with the Padma Bridge.

The government had planned to finish building the bridge before the next general elections scheduled to be held by the end of this year.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader had hoped they would be able to finish the work by the time.

With the third span installed, now the government hopes to open the bridge within 2020.