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Bangladesh and India have emphasised that the procedural bottlenecks will be removed through review mechanisms to ensure the timely implementation of the projects taken under the Indian Lines of Credit (LOC), reports UNB.

Bangladesh has requested the Indian side for the enhancement of local material content in the procurement process and revision of the Indian Lines of Credit (LoC) agreement.

The two countries noted that Bangladesh-India development partnership has grown significantly in recent years.

The governments of Bangladesh and India reviewed the progress of Indian LoC-funded projects during the first high-level project monitoring committee meeting held virtually recently.

The high-profile project monitoring committee is one of the several initiatives taken jointly by both sides to expedite the progress of the projects and sort out the issues regarding the implementation of LoC-funded projects and suggest the way forward.

It was discussed that follow-up mechanisms will be taken to expedite various projects which are at different stages, viz., at DPP preparation and tendering stages.

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Special focus will be given on expediting the completion of preparation of DPP for projects which have been identified to be executed out of GOILOC funds so that steps can be taken for the early floating of tenders.

It has been agreed upon that steps will be taken to ease the tendering process, which will in turn speed up the process of awarding of contracts to the winning bidders and early implementation of projects.

The projects under implementation will be monitored effectively and measures will be taken to ensure timely mobilisation and improve the payment cycle which has a direct impact on progress of the projects.

Bangladesh is the largest development partner under India’s LoC programme.

The Indian government’s total commitment under LoCs to the government of Bangladesh is USD 7,862 million, including LoC of USD 500 million granted for the procurement of defence equipment, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.

Out of 46 projects currently covered under the three GOILOCs, 14 projects are completed (USD 412.85 million), eight projects are underway (USD 1,013.74 million), 15 projects are under tendering (USD 3,195.44 million) and 14 projects are under DPP (USD 3,081.34) preparation stages.

In value terms, approximately 83 per cent of the projects are still at planning/DPP (approximately 41 per cent) and tendering (approximately 42 per cent) stages.

The Bangladesh government’s project agencies have awarded contracts of value USD 1,276.39 million so far which are approximately 17 per cent of total GOILOC portfolio.

Under such contracts, the disbursements of value USD 719.78 million (56 per cent of the contract value) have so far been made by Exim Bank of India.

Out of the first LoC, USD 200mn has been converted into grant.

The high-level project monitoring committee meeting was attended by the secretary, economic relations division of ministry of finance of Bangladesh, the High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh, officials of Prime Minister’s office, ministries of finance, foreign affairs and security services division, National Board of Revenue Exim Bank of India.