The government of South Korea proposed several major investments to develop Bangladesh's infrastructure at the third Bangladesh-Korea Joint PPP (Public Private Partnership) Platform meeting yesterday.
The virtual meeting was co-hosted by the Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) of Bangladesh and the Korea Overseas Infrastructure and Urban Development Cooperation (KIND), a public-private investment organisation established by the South Korean government.
During the meeting, the KIND offered to finance three of the country's major development projects -- the Tongi to Sadarghat subway line, the Oboshor-Senior Citizen health care and hospitality centre, and the Purbachal Town Electricity Network.
According to a PPPA spokesperson, the Tongi-Sadarghat subway line, which will remarkably improve Dhaka city's public transport, is estimated to be complete within 60 months from the starting date. The budget for this mega-infrastructure has not been fixed yet.
The KIND also proposed a $20 million investment to develop the Oboshor-Senior citizen health care and hospitality centre. The centre, which will provide healthcare for geriatric patients and senior citizens, is estimated to be complete within three years.
Besides, the organisation offered to establish the Purbachal Town Electricity Network in the currently developing Purbachal Residential Model Town.
This project is estimated to be complete within four to five years. Its budget has also not been fixed yet, the PPPA spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) showcased its Meghna Bridge Project, which involves the construction of a four-lane bridge over the Meghna river on the Bhulta to Aaraihazar to Banchharampur road that will serve as an alternate route to the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway and the Dhaka-Sylhet highway.
The KIND appreciated this project and agreed to move forward with the government in this regard by forming a government-to-government partnership programme in the future.
In his welcome speech, Kyong-goo Hur, president and CEO of the KIND, said that Korea is one of the largest investors in Bangladesh since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations in 1973.
"The KIND supports those investors who do not compromise with time and quality in implementing projects," he added.
Sultana Afroz, CEO of the PPP Authority, said these partnerships will not only accelerate the country's economic growth, but also strengthen bilateral relations.
She also asserted that the PPPA will work hard to facilitate the implementation of PPP projects with South Korea while following the due process with a focus on technical, commercial, legal, social and environmental aspects.
Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, urged for launching of at least one PPP project to mark the 100th birth anniversary of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
"Improving the communication infrastructure and especially widening the roads and highways is one of the priority projects of the government," he said.
"Korean investors are more than welcome to partner with the Bangladesh government as well as the country's private investors," Kaikaus added.
The webinar was attended by Kim Hyan-mee, South Korea's minister for land, Infrastructure and transport; Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister; Lee Jang Keun, South Korean ambassador to Bangladesh; Abida Islam, Bangladesh's ambassador to South Korea and other government officials, private investors.