Payra dredging saves Tk 56.9b

The government is set to save Tk 56.9 billion on a dredging project at Payra port by using domestic funds instead of foreign loans.

The changes to the funding arrangements were confirmed through the resigning of the contract between Payra port and Belgium-based company Jan De Nul at a Dhaka hotel on Sunday.

Planning Minister MA Mannan, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Shipping Secretary Mesbah Ahmed Chowdhury, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, and PMO Secretary Tofazzel Hossain Mia were present at the contract signing ceremony, among others.

Under the original public-private partnership (PPP) agreement with Jan De Nul, signed in January 2019, the dredging of the Rabnabad channel at Payra port was to be completed at a cost of Tk10,559 crore. All of the funding was to be covered by loans from Belgium.

At the direction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the dredging project will now be funded by the recently formed Bangladesh Infrastructure Development Fund.

The project will be completed at a cost of Tk4,950 core as per the new contract, 53% lower than quoted in the original PPP agreement.

Despite the lower cost, none of the facilities 8will be lost, government officials said after the signing ceremony.

Planning Minister MA Mannan said: “The Bangladesh Infrastructure Development Fund will help boost our strength. We are completing the Padma Bridge project with our own funds, and now we can give allocations to several other fast-track projects as well.

“It is a matter of happiness that this project is being implemented with our own funds. We have proved that we have the resources,” he added.

State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and bureaucrats for saving the country thousands of crores by shifting the project from foreign loans to domestic funds.

PMO Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus said: “This project is an example of how cost can be reduced without cutting any facilities.”

PMO Secretary Tofazzel Hossain Mia said the shift to domestic funding was a milestone for Bangladesh.

Payra Port Authority Chairman Commodore Humayun Kallol and Belgium-based Company Jan De Nul Project Director Jan Moens signed the contract on behalf of their respective organizations.

The Jan De Nul representative said that it was a great opportunity for Belgium and their company to work with this project, as their company is known for being one of the largest dredging companies of the world


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