Bangladesh Govt cautious about loans for mega projects


rime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday reaffirmed that her government remains cautious so the loans do not become a burden.

"Once these (mega) projects are implemented, the face of our economy will change. We're taking loans from domestic and foreign sources. However, we've a careful eye so that they do not become a burden," she said in an address to the nation on the eve of Pahela Baishakh.

About the mega projects, Hasina said the Padma bridge is being constructed with own funds. Other mega projects were undertaken through economic studies by local and foreign experts. And many projects are being implemented on the basis of foreign partnerships.

"Our main goal is to accelerate economic activities, create employment, increase resources and make the lives of people easier through infrastructure development," she said.


The prime minister said 2022 and 2023 will be milestones for Bangladesh in terms of infrastructure development. The much-desired Padma bridge will come into operation in just a few months. The bridge is expected to contribute 1.2 percent to the GDP, she said.

She said Metrorail will be launched on the 14km Uttara-Agargaon route by the end of this year. It is expected to bring a revolutionary change in the capital's transport system, she added.

The country's first underwater tunnel, Karnaphuli River Tunnel in Chattogram, will be opened in October next, said Hasina.


The first unit (with capacity of 1,200-megawatt) of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the largest development project in the country's history at a cost of Tk 1.13 trillion, is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2023, she said.

Last month, the 1,320-megawatt Payra power plant was inaugurated ahead of the deadline. "The implementation of other mega projects is progressing fast," she said.

She said Bangladesh's economy stood on a strong foundation in the last 13 years, which is evident in different macroeconomic indexes. The GDP was only $102 billion in 2009, which rose to $416 billion last year. The per capita income was increased to $2,591 from only $702, she said.

She said these achievements have been made possible thanks to far-sighted political thoughts and the implementation of far-sighted economic programmes.

She said the coronavirus pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war, and the emerging situation caused by the war have led to instability in commodity prices in the world market.

Fuel prices have risen abnormally. International transport fares have also risen sharply. As a result, the prices of some products have also gone up in Bangladesh. "But we're not sitting idle. We're trying our best to bring relief to the general public," she said.

During the holy month of Ramadan, the government is providing several essential items at affordable prices to some 10 million families through TCB by giving subsidy, she said.

Hasina said there is an arrangement to sell meat, eggs and milk at affordable prices through 15 freezer vans every day by the Livestock Department in the capital. "So, the prices of many essential items have already come down to normal levels."

Besides, the government has given special allocation of over 100,330 metric tonnes of rice against 10,033,054 (over 10 million) VGF cards on the occasion of upcoming Eid, she said.

"I would like to inform you clearly that there is no shortage of any commodity, including rice, in the country," she said.

The prime minister extended Bangla New Year greetings to all. "Although many (Bangalee) traditions have been lost due to various blows, the celebration of New Year on Pahela Baishakh still survives with its own glory," she said.

She urged all to come forward for building Bangladesh as a happy and prosperous 'Sonar Bangla' where there would be no inequality or disparity among people, and no discord among religions.

"The Pahela Baishakh inspires us to adopt a liberal lifestyle by shunning all narrowness and ignorance. It gives us strength and shows a dream to live with fresh enthusiasm removing all sorts of filthiness and shabbiness from the hearts," she said.

Hasina urged all to join the Pahela Baishakh celebration programmes and enjoy the joy of the Bangla New Year, maintaining health protocol as the coronavirus has not gone completely.