The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved a total of 12 development projects, including a revised one to raise the cost of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge construction by Tk 2,412.13 crore and extend the time frame till June 2024.
The overall estimated cost of the 12 projects is Tk 19,598.84 crore. Only the additional costs of four revised projects were counted here.
The approval came from the ECNEC meeting chaired by its Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e Bangla Nagar area.
“A total of 15 projects were placed before today’s meeting. Of them, 12 projects got approval and two were deferred. And the rest one got time extension only,” said Planning Minister MA Mannan while briefing reporters.
Of the 12 approved projects, eight are new and the rest four are revised ones.
Among the total estimated cost, Tk 13,203.66 crore will come from foreign sources as project assistance, while Tk 6,260.72 crore from the government fund and the rest Tk 134.46 crore from the fund of an organisation concerned, said the Planning Secretary Satyajit Karmaker.
Regarding the reasons behind the rise in cost of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Construction Project, member of the Physical Infrastructure Division of the Planning Commission Mohammad Emdad Ullah Mian said the VAT rate has risen to 15 per cent now from 10 per cent as well as the prices of construction materials for river training and the price of dollar went up.
As per the project factsheet, the main work of the Padma Bridge project has already been completed. But now the revision of the project is required to complete the remaining ancillary works and the payment of contractors’ dues. So, the project can be approved under this consideration, he said.
In terms of cost, the largest three new projects approved in the ECNEC meeting are — “Programme on Agricultural and Rural Transformation for Nutrition, Entrepreneurship and Resilience in Bangladesh Project,” involving an estimated cost of Tk 6,910.94 crore; “Bangladesh Road Safety Project” with Tk 4,988.14 crore; and “Collection of 2 Crude Oil Mother Tankers and 2 Mother Bulk Carrier Ships on the basis of G2G Project” with Tk 2,620.77 crore.
The agricultural (PARTNER) project will be implemented in all the unions of 495 upazilas of the country’s 64 districts by June 2028, mainly for the transformation of the traditional agricultural system into commercial agriculture and diversification in food grains production.
Other major objectives of the project are the development of agricultural entrepreneurs for the export of agricultural products and the expansion of climate-resilient agro-food value chains.
The Bangladesh Road Safety Project will be implemented in all the upazilas of the country by June 2028 in a bid to reduce road accidents and damages as well as enhance the capacity of government agencies concerned for ensuring road safety.
The other new projects are — “Improving Computer and Software Engineering Tertiary Education Project (ICSETEP)” involving Tk 1,219.80 crore; “Project for Protection of Charkaua, Chandmari, Jagua, Lamchari and Charmonai areas in Sadar Upazila of Barisal District from Kirtankhola River Erosion (Phase-1)” with Tk 512.92 crore; “Establishment of Institute of Nanotechnology (in Savar) Project” with Tk 380.78 crore; ‘’Building Climate Resilient Livelihoods in the Vulnerable Landscapes in Bangladesh (BCRL) Project” with Tk 76.06 crore; and “Safer Cyberspace for Digital Bangladesh: Enhancing National and Regional Digital Investigation Capability of Bangladesh Police Project” with Tk 59.08 crore.
The three other revised projects are — “Construction of Dhaka-Narayanganj dual gauge railway line in parallel to the existing meter gauge railway line (first revised) Project” with an additional cost of Tk 279.69 crore (now cost is Tk 658.35 crore); “Reconstruction of Mymensingh Central Jail (first revised) Project” with extra cost of Tk 112.54 crore (now the total cost increased to Tk 240.15 crore); and “Reinstallation and Improvement of Level Crossing Gates of the Eastern Region of Bangladesh Railway (third revised) Project” with an additional cost of Tk 25.99 crore (now cost is Tk 130.50 crore).
In the ECNEC meeting, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to ensure the facilities in the country’s jails to run the virtual court.
She made this directive during the discussion about the first revision of the Reconstruction of Mymensingh Central Jail Project.
UNB . Dhaka