Dhaka, Delhi optimistic about increased LoC utilisation

Bangladesh and India have expressed optimism that the utilisation rate of Lines of Credit (LoCs) extended to Bangladesh by India is set to increase significantly in the near future, reports UNB.

With the award of more than US$ 990.85 million worth of contracts under the LoCs during the past three years, and another US$ 325.58 million being finalised within the next few months, the two sides hope it will create new opportunities for shared development of the region and mutual benefits.

Bangladesh and India have noted considerable improvement in the speed of projects reaching execution or ending stage under the LoCs.

It has been made possible with the active cooperation of the project-implementing agencies of both sides and the extensive coordination efforts between the economic relations division (ERD) and the high commission.

The 19th Bangladesh-India LoC review meeting was held in Dhaka on 27-28 October to review the progress of 43 projects being taken up for implementation under GoI Lines of Credit (LoCs).

Sridharan Madhusudhanan, joint secretary (DPA-I), ministry of external affairs, government of India led the Indian delegation and the Bangladesh delegation was led by Md Shahriar Kader Siddiky, additional secretary, ERD, ministry of finance.

Representatives of Indian companies executing the LoC projects in Bangladesh also participated in the meeting.

The India-Bangladesh development partnership has grown significantly in recent years, said the Indian high commission in Dhaka.

Four LoCs worth US$ 7.862 billion had been extended to Bangladesh for undertaking important infrastructure development projects in a wide array of sectors.

The total disbursements as of 25 October, 2021 are approximately US$ 865 million.

Under the first LoC of US$ 862 million, 12 out of 15 projects have already been completed and three projects are under execution.

Under the second LoC of US$ 2 billion, two projects are already complete and the other projects are under various stages of implementation. Under the third LoC of US$ 4.5 billion, one project has reached the execution stage, while the other projects are under various stages of DPP finalisation and tendering.

During the LoC review meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction with the robust cooperation on LoC projects.

The two delegation heads appreciated the fact that all stakeholders on the LoC projects are in constant touch, holding frequent and detailed review meetings, and are making every effort for the expeditious execution of projects.

A detailed discussion was held, line ministry-wise, to review project progress. The existing issues with project implementation and possible resolution mechanisms were identified.

Detailed timelines were determined for all the steps involved in project implementation.

The two sides agreed that the LoC review mechanism is an ideal platform to monitor the progress of projects, understand and remove procedural bottlenecks and ensure timely implementation.

The successful implementation of projects under GoI LoCs and the continuous engagement of the two countries on ongoing and proposed projects underlines the commitment of both sides for creating new opportunities for shared development of the region and mutual benefits.

Both the delegation heads recalled that the importance of bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and India, utilising the LoCs, was highlighted by the prime minister of India during the virtual summit held with the prime minister of Bangladesh on 17 December, 2020.

Prior to the LoC review meeting, the Indian delegation comprising MEA officials from Delhi, high commission of India officials and Exim Bank of India officials visited the LoC project site for the power evacuation facilities of the Rooppur Nuclear Power plant, the Ashuganj Inland River Port project site as well as the Ashuganj-Sarail-Dharkhar-Akhaura Road project site.

The delegation met all the stakeholders involved in project implementation and detailed discussions were held to review the project progress and resolve the impediments to the project progress.

It was agreed that the 20th bilateral LoC review meeting would be held in Delhi in April 2022.