Japanese firms to invest in infrastructure
Japanese companies are going to invest in Bangladesh's infrastructure projects under a new government-to-government arrangement, the progress in which is expected to be visible next year.
Hiroyasu Izumi, ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh, made the disclosure yesterday in a meeting with State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid at the latter's secretariat office in Dhaka.
According to a Power Division statement, the envoy said Japanese firms have expressed interest to invest in Bangladesh under public-private partnership (PPP) initiative. “Real implementation will be visible from next year,” he said.
A memorandum of understanding has already been signed between the two countries which will allow Japanese companies to get work orders without participating in any bidding.
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry of Japan and the PPP Authority of Bangladesh will soon float a joint public-private project management platform to this end.
The platform, to comprise permanent members from both countries, will select Japanese companies for implementing projects. It will also mobilise funds and monitor project progress, said officials of the PPP Authority that works under the Prime Minister's Office.
The development comes amid investment commitments worth billions of dollars from China and India for several infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.
Chinese and Indian companies have already started working in the projects either through limited bidding or without it.
Officials of the PPP Authority could not say how much money would be invested under the new arrangement with Japan or how the funds would be mobilised.
Syed Afsor H Uddin, chief executive officer of the PPP Authority, and Yasuki Kaibori, deputy minister of Japan's land, infrastructure, transport and tourism ministry, signed the MoU in Japan in June.
The PPP Authority will first identify infrastructure projects such as highways, ring roads, subways, and economic zones following discussions with relevant ministries.
The joint management platform will then select a project for implementation. After the selection, the winning Japanese company will carry out a feasibility study.
Japan has been providing nearly $2 billion in soft loans every year to Bangladesh since 2012-13.
Tokyo will also invest under the new arrangement, and Japanese banks will help with financing, said PPA Authority officials.
According to the Power Division statement, a total of 16 projects of the power, energy and mineral resources ministry are now being implemented with financing from Japan.
Hamid has sought the ambassador's cooperation for the quick implementation of the projects.