ADB goes the WB way
Mon, Jul 2nd, 2012 1:56 pm BdST
Dhaka July 2 (bdnews24.com)The Asian Development Bank is understood to have cancelled the loan deal for the Padma bridge project in line with the World Bank decision as both lenders "follow similar policies, rules and procedures".
An ADB statement issued on Monday did not clearly spell out the decision but sources in Dhaka admitted that the Manila-based lender would also have to go back on its commitment.
"ADB understands and respects the reasons that have led the World Bank to its decision," the statement said. "ADB and the World Bank follow similar policies, rules and procedures on governance and fiduciary oversight."
Obaidul Quader, the communications minister who would have overseen the US$ 2.9 billion project, said earlier Monday morning that he was expecting other co-financiers to go by the World Bank decision "for obvious reasons".
"It is only natural that the other partners will also move away," Quader told reporters in Dhaka, "since the World Bank is the lead financier."
"ADB has been informed by the World Bank of its decision to withdraw its financing from the Padma Bridge project. Padma is a landmark project for Bangladesh and the region. The World Bank is the lead financier and arranger, working alongside the Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and Islamic Development Bank," the ADB statement said.
"However, given the importance of the project to the country and the region, ADB also deeply regrets that both parties were unable to reach a workable agreement to move the operation forward."
ADB pledged US$ 610 million, while the World Bank was to give US$ 1.2 billion, Japan's JICA US$ 400 million and Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank US$ 140 million.
The World Bank announced on Friday that it would not fund Bangladesh's largest infrastructure project citing "credible evidence of corruption" in the management of the venture.
Government ministers have denied any wrongdoing.
The World Bank has itself been branded as an inefficient and corrupt institution with little respect for transparency. A major report released on Saturday by America's Forbes magazine described the Bank as "one of the most dysfunctional" in the world and one lacking in vision.
The Washington-based organisation moved quickly on Sunday to "set the record straight" and alleged Forbes "distorted facts" as a new president took the reins.
ADB, meanwhile, assured of support in future initiatives.
"ADB has a longstanding relationship with the Government of Bangladesh and its people and reiterates its commitment to their long term development needs," the statement issued in Dhaka said.
On Sunday, JICA refused to confirm that it too was pulling out.
"We will consider our position on the project in consultation with the Japanese government," Kei Toyama, senior representative for JICA in Bangladesh, said on Sunday.
"The situation is very much regrettable in spite of the efforts between the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank," he said in response to queries.
ADB goes the WB way | Bangladesh | bdnews24.com