Remarks for the 3rd Meeting of High Level Project Monitoring Committee on GoI LOC Projects in Bangladesh বিবৃতি ও বক্তৃতা

Remarks for the 3rd Meeting of High Level Project Monitoring Committee on GoI LOC Projects in Bangladesh

Remarks for the 3rd Meeting of High Level Project Monitoring Committee on GoI LOC Projects in Bangladesh

Secretary ERD Ms. Sharifa Khan,
Colleagues from ERD, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finance Division, National Board of Revenue, and Ministry of Home Affairs, Good morning.

 1. It is my pleasure to be here today at the 3rd Meeting of the High Level Project Monitoring Committee for projects being taken up under concessional Lines of Credit extended by the Government of India to the Government of Bangladesh. At the outset I would like to thank all our colleagues from ERD for putting together this meeting at a short notice, and for your hospitality today. I am joined today by my team from Dhaka, my colleagues from Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi led by Secretary DPA&ER Mr. Prabhat Kumar, as well as colleagues from Exim Bank of India.

 2. One of the hallmarks of the India-Bangladesh friendship is our robust development cooperation partnership. Bangladesh is India’s largest development partner and we have extended nearly nine and a half billion dollars in concessional financing for projects across various sectors, constituting nearly one-fourth of our overall financing commitments across the globe. Nearly eight billion dollars is extended under the concessional Lines of Credit (LOCs) and 42 projects have been taken up under this funding modality, while over one and a half billion dollars have been extended under the Concessional Financing Scheme with which we are building the Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant at Rampal.

 3. Today’s meeting is the third edition of the deliberations on policy level issues by the High Level Project Monitoring Committee. This review mechanism is one of the three institutional mechanisms created for reviewing LOC projects, the other two being the Technical Committee and the full-scale Bilateral Review Meeting. Apart from these mechanisms, our two sides regularly monitor progress in projects with site visits and very frequent project-specific reviews at the technical level. The Technical Committee was constituted to take up procedural and operational issues and it is a very positive development that most of the issues that were within their mandate to deliberate upon, have now been resolved.

 4. Over the last few years, the pace of execution and disbursement for our LOC projects has picked up. The progress during the difficult pandemic period has been particularly encouraging. We have completed 14 projects and the other 28 projects are at various stages of development. With consistent push from both sides, we are managing to move projects from the DPP stage to the tendering stage and from the tendering stage to the physical execution stage. Even since I have taken over as High Commissioner in late September 2022, we have had some important milestones being achieved such as the awarding of the PMC contract for the project for ‘Upgradation of Mongla Port’, and inauguration of the priority stretch between Tongi-Joydebpur of ‘Dhaka-Tongi-Joydepur rail line project’ by Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

 5. Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, disbursements almost doubled over the last two years. Under LOC, disbursements for the FY 2021-22 (Indian) were USD 229.16 million which was 62% higher than disbursements in FY 2020-21 (Indian) and higher than any other development partner of Bangladesh. For FY 2022-23 (Indian), total disbursements till date are USD 338.33 million. We understand from Exim Bank that USD 191.73 million has been disbursed between July 2022 till date and so at this rate, with several months to still go for close of the Bangladeshi FY in June 2023, the possibility of India once again becoming the fastest and largest disbursing development partner of Bangladesh is very high.

 6. Today’s meeting is an opportunity to take stock of all the outstanding policy level issues and to try to find solutions for them so that the pace of progress on our projects can be further accelerated. I once again thank all my colleagues from the Bangladesh side for hosting the meeting today.

Thank you.


14 February 2023