Written by: Sharika Sabha
The current Bangladesh government has undertaken many ambitious mega-projects over the years and 2023 is no different. As the date of the next national election comes closer, work on many mega-projects is verging on the finish line, with many new mega-projects on the horizon.
Which Mega Projects in Bangladesh Are Starting in 2023?
On February 1, the expansion work of the Dhaka-Sylhet highway under a Tk 16,918.59 crore project started and the work for the country’s first-ever underground metro rail line under a Tk 52,561.43 core scheme began on 2nd February.
Japan will provide a loan of Tk 39,450 crore (75 percent) for the metro rail project while Asian Development Bank will lend Tk 13,244.69 crore (78.28 percent) for the road expansion scheme.
As of now, the Dhaka-Sylhet highway is the only road connection between the capital, Chattogram, and other parts of the country and the greater Sylhet division, resulting in congestion and accidents on the two-lane highway. According to the proposed structure, out of six lanes, two separate lanes for slow-moving vehicles will be added. This highway will also be a part of the Asian Highway, BIMSTEC.
The beginning of the underground metro-rail marks the initiation of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-1, upon the completion of which, 8 lakh passengers will be able to commute daily through the pathway.
Which Mega Projects in Bangladesh Are Set to Finish in 2023?
Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar Railway Link which is 100 km, connecting Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar is a rail project costing around $2.13 billion. Civil works for the project began in March 2018 and the deadline for the Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar rail line is June 2022. Project officials are hopeful of completion within 2023.
Bangladesh Satellite Company Ltd (BSCL) has already signed a cooperation contract with Glavkosmos from Russia for the purpose of launching the Bangabandhu 2 satellite by December 2023, which is a project worth $435 million. However, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the future of the project is uncertain.
The 1200MW Matarbari Power Plant in Cox’s Bazar, the most expensive scheme by Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (CPGCBL), has a target to complete by June 2023, shown in an official document.
Furthermore, Dhaka MRT Line-6 (second phase) through the Agargaon-Motijheel route, is set to be completed by December 2023.
It is expected that the completion of each of the projects will render great service to our general population. However, the success of the projects comes at a great cost.
With the completion of the Padma Bridge, Bangladesh is currently undergoing 20 mega-projects with the assistance of 45 packages of loan, which include grant, concessionary loan, half-concessionary loan, and commercial loan. Experts remarked that Bangladesh is in for shocks in 2024 and 2026 regarding the repayment of external loans.
As Bangladesh has to rely heavily on taxes on fuel for revenue purposes, IMF’s condition to reduce default loans by aligning domestic fuel prices with the global price falls short due to the price hike of fuel amid the inflationary pressure on the domestic economy.
Considering the depleting state of our foreign reserves, the authority needs to keep in mind that foreign reserves are meant to tackle external shocks. They are not a budgetary resource to fund mega-projects. All in all, a strong financial system backed by well-governed economic management is necessary to reap the best benefits of the mega-projects while repaying the debt on time.
- Flyvbjerg, Bent | (2017) | The Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management | Oxford University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0198732242
- Brookes, Naomi J.; Locatelli, Giorgio | (1 Oct, 2015) | Power plants as megaprojects: Using empirics to shape policy, planning, and construction management | Utilities Policy | 36:5766.doi:10.1016/j.jup.2015.09.005
- Tuhin Shubhra Adhikary | (28 Jan, 2023) | 2 mega projects set to kick off | The Daily Star
- Tuhin Shubhra Adhikary | (4 Jun, 2021) | Big push for mega projects | The Daily Star
- Mahmudul Hasan | (10 Mar, 2022) | Bangabandhu satellite-2: War casts uncertainty over timely launch | The Daily Star
- Staff Correspondent | (10 Dec, 2021) | Metro Rail: Agargaon to Motijheel by Dec 2023 | The Daily Star
- Staff Correspondent | (25 Oct, 2022) | Contracts signed to expand Dhaka-Sylhet highway to 6-lane | New Age Bangladesh
- Tuhin Shubhra Adhikary | (16 Jan, 2023) | Underground metro rail construction starts Jan 26 | The Daily Star
- Staff Correspondent | (5 Feb, 2023) | Foreign-Funded Mega Projects: Debt repayment may become a headache | The Daily Star
- Staff Correspondent | (22 Jul, 2022) |BD may face trouble in 2024-26: Debapriya | The Financial Express
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