World Bank, the main development associate of Bangladesh, has urged speedy implementation of six big projects in communication, infrastructure and power sectors that will likely increase the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by more than one percent, the bank's latest report on Bangladesh economy said.
According to the report, published on October 21, the projects are Padma multipurpose bridge, conversion of Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways to four-lane ones, double-tracking of Dhaka-Chittagong railway, Dhaka metro-rail and two under-construction gas-based power plants at Bibiana.
Once the implementation of Padma Bridge project, among the six, is done, a revolutionary change would be brought about in the country's overall economy, especially in the south-eastern zone, remarked the report.
Bangladesh's communication system will have a massive breakthrough after implantation of this mega project, the WB report also said, expecting that it would push GDP up by more than one per cent.
"For economic growth easy communication system is very important. In Bangladesh context, a project like Padma Bridge is very essential. Quick implementation of power projects is necessary to resolve gas and electricity crisis," Chief Economist of World Bank's Dhaka office Dr Zahid Hossain told the Daily Observer.
In the report, the World Bank suggested that for quick and lasting economic growth, few other projects beyond the six should also be completed soon. It said non-compliant ready-made garment (RMG) factories should set acceptable safety standards.
Infrastructural problems should be quickly resolved and fire-dousing system (in clothing factories) should be reinforced, the report further pointed out. This will make the export sector more brisk, the World Bank thinks. The global financier further suggested that public-private partnership (PPP) programme should be strengthened and 37 on-going projects under it should be completed quickly in order to hasten economic growth.
The programmes relating to export processing zones (EPZs) for different countries or companies should be implemented fast to augment foreign investment. For this, EPZ authority of Bangladesh will have to play more effective role. This will increase job opportunity and export earnings, the report said.
As a possible $1.5 billion World Bank assistance for the Padma Bridge did not materialise finally, the government decided to construct the country's longest bridge with own funding. The work has already started, though at a slow pace, with contract awarded to a Chinese company, land acquisitioned and construction materials being purchased.
The work schedule of Dhaka-Chittagong highway has been extended up to 2016 and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been entrusted with the job of metro-rail project, which is supposed to be completed by 2019.