WB decision on Padma loan worries civil society
The World Bank decision to pull out of the Padma bridge project has created image crisis for Bangladesh and might impact on foreign aid in future, different civil society members expressed their concerns yesterday.
In their instant reaction over phone, they also urged the government to investigate the charges properly and go for exemplary punishment if the allegations are proved.
Former adviser to caretaker government Dr Akbar Ali Khan said the WB decision will indirectly affect Bangladesh in getting foreign aid in future.
Whenever any lending agency will intend to finance a new project, it might take a suspicious look about corruption in Bangladesh, he said.
The WB on Saturday pulled out of the project citing corruption allegations against the government high-ups.
If the government initiates construction of the Padma bridge through alternative funding, it would increase costs and there might be a question about quality, Khan observed.
Former adviser to caretaker government M Hafizuddin Khan said, "The incident has tarnished the country's image and there might be a problem in getting foreign aid in future if the government did not look into it seriously."
The government must conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and give exemplary punishment if the allegation is proved.
Prof Dr Imtiaz Ahmed of international relations at Dhaka University said, "The incident occurred centring corruption and it has created an image crisis for Bangladesh. If the government does not take effective measures against corruption, there would be some impact on getting foreign aid."
Badiul Alam Majumdar, secretary of civil society platform Shujan, said, "This is another example that corruption is pulling us behind and retarding the pace of national progress. It will also impact on getting foreign aid because donors will remain more alert about corruption in Bangladesh."
"We should wake up against corruption to ensure national development," he said, demanding exemplary punishment of the corrupt officials.
Former inspector general of police (IGP) and ex-adviser to caretaker government ASM Shahjahan said more discussion should be held between the government and the WB over the issue.
"The government should not think the World Bank as its rival; rather we should keep in mind that relationship between the two parties does not get affected," he said.