EDITORIAL: Fast implementation of Indian loans

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - Bangladesh has formally taken a third line of credit (LoC) to the tune of USD 4.5 billion from India. 

Bangladesh has formally taken a third line of credit (LoC) to the tune of USD 4.5 billion from India. Certain changes are being made, which includes a joint panel with representatives from Bangladesh's Economic Relations Division, various ministries concerned and the Indian lending agency Exim bank. It stands to reason to have such a joint monitoring body to be put in place, especially in light of the fact that we are in a very sorry state of implementation with our earlier LoCs. A report in this paper on October 1 states that Bangladesh has only been able to utilise USD 576 million since 2010 when the first LoC was availed by us. 

The problems have primarily been on our side with delays in project selection, tedious approval process, tender procedures, project design finalisation to name but some of the sticky issues that have not been addressed despite so many years having gone by. With bureaucratic delays comes the issue of cost overruns.

These issues have been highlighted by media over the years and now as we commit ourselves to yet another multi-billion dollar loan arrangement, one can only hope that our policymakers will get a move on in getting projects approved faster by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec). Following approval by Ecnec, come the issues of preparing tenders and project implementation. 

Our biggest hurdle remains land acquisition. Unless procedures are simplified regarding that crucial element, any project regardless of size will not be going anywhere. It is too early to pass judgement on whether we will have better luck with project implementation this time round, but our work is cut out for us and it is time for more changes and less talk.


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