“The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) informed JICA of their decision to withdraw the request for funding of the Padma project by the World Bank (WB). As a co-financier, we are unable to continue our commitment under the current framework,” the Japanese lending agency said in the statement.
“It’s regrettable that the government and the World Bank could not find the way to go forward under the current financial framework,“ the statement added.
The World Bank was the main financier of the Padma Bridge project, while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) a co-financier alongside the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
The ADB on Friday also turned down to proceed with the transaction for the project, saying, “Given this co-financing arrangement, a discontinuation of funding by the World Bank means ADB is also unable to proceed with the transaction.”
However, another co-financier IDB is yet to inform its decision in this regard.
The statement issued from the Dhaka office of JICA, also mentioned that its effort did not help overcome the difficult situations, although it had been intensively consulting with Bangladesh government and the other co-financiers after WB canceled the loan last year.
“Our policy is to require the highest standard of ethics. Acknowledging the progress of the investigation on the conspiracy of corruption of the project, we support GoB’s firm commitment to anti-corruption, and wish ACC to continue a full and fair investigation into the alleged corruption,” it said.
However, JICA commits to assist development and good governance of the country and deliver the result to people through financial and technical cooperation.
On Thursday, the government informed the global lender – World Bank – that it is withdrawing its request to the Bank to finance the country’s Padma Bridge project.
“The World Bank has taken note of the government’s decision of not seeking renewed financing for the Padma bridge,” said a WB statement issued from the Dhaka office on Friday.
Earlier, on January 23, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a press conference said the government will construct the Padma Bridge with funds from alternative sources if the World Bank does not give any decision on its financing of the project by January.
The WB cancelled its promised US$1.2 billion funding for the project on June 29 last year, saying it had proof of a “corruption conspiracy” involving Bangladeshi officials, including former communications minister Abul Hossain, and executives of a Canadian firm and some individuals.
The global lender on September 21 decided to revive the loan after Bangladesh agreed to the bank’s terms and conditions.