Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Bangladesh gets $150m loans from World Bank for trade connectivity

  • News Desk,
    Published: 2017-12-07 18:52:51 BdST


Bangladesh has signed a $150 million loan agreement with the World Bank to modernise trade infrastructure, systems and procedures.

These improvements will help Bangladesh increase regional connectivity and trade with India, Bhutan, and Nepal, the World Bank has said in a statement.

The project will develop and improve four land ports - Bhomra, Sheola, Ramgarh, and Benapole. These land ports are the key to facilitating regional and transit trade, especially with India.

These improvements will help Bangladesh increase trade and freight volumes and reduce truck clearance time at border posts. For example, truck clearance time at Bhomra land port will be reduced to 12 hours from 72 hours.

“Bangladesh has enormous potential to increase trade with its neighbours, particularly India. Currently, its trade with India is only less than half of its current potential,” said Qimiao Fan, country director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal.

“Bangladesh has doubled its world market share in exports between 1995 and 2012, and more than doubled in value in the last five years. But, the potential is much higher,” said Kazi Shofiqul Azam, secretary of the Economic Relations Division.

“Geographically, Bangladesh can play an important role in regional trade and logistics networks, and as a transit country in South Asia.  The project will help Bangladesh take advantage of its strategic location to increase exports and lower import costs.”

The loans are interest-free and repayable in 38 years, including a six-year grace period, and carry a service charge of 0.75 percent.