JICA to opt for project security cost
Japan International Cooperation agency (JICA) is set to include "security cost" in its expenditure list of the development projects in Bangladesh, which will further increase the allocation of Bangladesh government.
Earlier, the Japanese representatives were pleased to see the deployment of police personnel and ansars and the coastguards at the project sites along with VIP security, but now they want more security for their citizens at the sites, a senior official of the Finance Ministry told the daily Observer on Monday.
Six JICA-funded mega projects had either stalled or slowed down due to the absence of consultants and contractors, according to the Finance Ministry.
Japan is providing around Tk 13,000 crore as soft loan for the Tk 6,000 crore projects.
Following the heinous attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in July, 2016, JICA had refused to return to Bangladesh after seven Japanese citizens were found dead among the 20 in the terror attack.
"They have made many more demands relating to security. But we have agreed to meet all conditions for the interests of the country," a senior official said.
"They want armed guards, but we cannot supply a large number of armed guards. We asked them to appoint private security guards though it needs a huge amount of money. We are negotiating on the issue as they are trying to put it into the ODA loan," the official added preferring anonymity.
To resolve the issue, the JICA officials will sit withthe Finance Ministry and Home Ministry, chiefs of police and coast guard along with top officials of Japanese embassy today (Tuesday).
Alhough a large number of Japanese are returning to their workplaces with some tough conditions after the terror attack, but still they want more security, including VIP security, for all their officials.
"Earlier, JICA had imposed the condition that two vehicles of security personnel in plainclothes should follow them during their movement. Since they coordinate official development assistance (ODA) for the government of Japan, we agreed to provide VIP security for Japanese officials who will implement those mega projects," official said.
According to him, foolproof security measures have been taken in the projects for building new Jamuna bridge, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-6, Matarbari-1200 MW coal-fired power plant, NRG Efficiency and Conservation and Protection, Disaster Risk Management Enhancement Project and Cross Border Road Liking Network Project. Officials regularly hold meetings with police and foreign experts to discuss the security issue.
Since November last, the government lobbied hard to convince Japan that the measures were adequate to ensure security of its nationals here, and Japanese officials started to return again observing the government's security arrangements at the project sites and for the protection of the foreign consultants and contractors.
The government also took representatives of Japanese embassy in Dhaka to several project areas to show them the security arrangements. Security personnel have been deployed at the project sites while police protection was given during the movement of foreigners.