Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday said an allocation will be made in every year's national budget to build the Padma bridge and the money will be converted into US dollars.
Muhith was speaking at a press conference at his secretariat office where Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman and Banking Division Secretary M Aslam Alam were present.
On the expenditure plan for the Padma bridge project over the next five fiscal years, Muhith said it was not true that the foreign exchange reserves will be used to implement the project. He said the matter was incorrectly reported by the media. The minister asked the central bank governor to explain to reporters how the foreign currency payments will be made to successful bidders. The BB governor said the government would make payments to the Padma bridge contractors the same way it makes payments for imports of fertiliser and petroleum products.
The government funds will be deposited in an Agrani Bank account dedicated to the project and the bank will purchase the required foreign currencies to make payments, Rahman said. The central bank governor said if Agrani Bank does not have the necessary foreign currency or cannot purchase it from the inter-bank foreign exchange market, the central bank will help it out.
The central bank will always remain careful so that the exchange rate does not become instable, he added. According to the Bridge Division estimates, payments to the contractors will amount to $2.1 billion in the next five years.