Padma tender by June
The government will float tenders by the first half of June to select bidders for construction of the long-awaited Padma Bridge, according to new implementation schedule.
The construction will be completed by June 2016.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith discussed the new schedule at a pre-budget meeting with the Economic Reporters Forum yesterday.
He said the government would unveil the detailed schedule by April 13, the day he is slated to leave for Washington to attend the World Bank-IMF spring meetings.
“The work on the Padma bridge project will start from where it was left off [in September 2011],” Muhith said adding that river training would also start from where it was stopped.
He reiterated that the bridge would be constructed with the government's own funds. For this, the ministries would not be given additional allocations in the next year's budget.
However, the finance minister said, the previous development partners like ADB and Jica, if they want, could still participate in the Padma bridge project.
“We will follow the design accepted by the development partners; and we will follow the tender process and the list of pre-qualified bidders accepted by them.”
Muhith said contractor for construction of the bridge would be selected from among five pre-qualified bidders. One of them, however, would not be considered as it had been blacklisted.
The process of appointing a consultant for supervision would be completely reviewed. Even so, the appointment would be possible before the construction work begins, he mentioned.
In the old implementation system, the donors would evaluate the bidding process. A similar process would be followed now to ensure transparency. As such, attempts were being made to form a group to get a second opinion about the bidding process, the minister said.
Building the bridge with own resources would involve, among other things, introducing sovereign bonds in the international market. This means an interest rate of at least 10 percent, he added.
If the bridge were built with donors' funds, the average interest rate would be 1.4 percent, Muhith noted.
As per the government's revised financing requirements, the total project cost would be $3.05 billion or Tk 24,394 crore, of which the foreign currency component is $1.8 billion.
To build the bridge with local funds, the government has to collect foreign currency from various sources, one of which is by introducing $1 billion sovereign bonds in the international market.
The finance minister said the government would allocate in the next fiscal year Tk 6,800 crore for the bridge project. Of this, the foreign currency component would amount to $600 million.
The government would allocate Tk 7,800 crore in FY 2014-15 and Tk 5,000 crore in FY 2015-16.
In FY 2016-17, the last instalment would be Tk 300 crore.