Padma bridge tolls will outweigh construction cost: finance minister

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is confident that the government will be able to make a profit from tolls on the Padma bridge after recovering funds spent on the construction project.

Published : 7 April 2022, 05:03 PM
Updated : 7 April 2022, 05:03 PM

Bangladesh spent Tk 301.93 billion on the construction of the bridge and approach roads. Apart from this, the government allocated funds for the construction of railways on the bridge.

Bangladesh was supposed to open the bridge to traffic by Jun 30, but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Wednesday that the opening of the bridge was delayed until the end of 2022.

“We hope to launch it by the end of this year as the prime minister said,” Kamal said on Thursday after a meeting of a cabinet committee.

The meeting approved a proposal to appoint a joint venture of Korea Expressway Corporation and China Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited for a period of five years at a cost of Tk 6.93 billion for the maintenance of the bridge and toll collection.

Asked about the possible rate of toll to cross the bridge, Kamal said it was not fixed yet. “You will get to know once it's fixed.”

“We can say that we must recover the funds spent on this project until the last day from the toll, and we will do it,” he said. “We are collecting tolls from other projects. Tolls will be collected from the bridge as well. We won’t only collect tolls, but we will also make a profit. We will achieve more than what we’ve spent on the project.”

"Otherwise, we can't move forward. We have to move from one project to another, from one bridge to another. We need revenue for that.

"This will be a win-win situation for both users [of the bridge] and the government.”

Asked how many years it would take to start making a profit from the bridge, Kamal said the authorities did not work on it in detail yet.