Finance Minister AMA Muhith has rejected the proposal of a Chinese company for implementing the ‘Dhaka Chittagong Expressway Project,` aiming to build a four-lane elevated expressway connecting Dhaka and Chittagong.
Recently, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd (CSCEC) submitted its express of interest (EoI) to construct the project on G-to-G/build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.
The Beijing-headquartered CSCEC, a state-owned construction enterprise and one of the largest construction and engineering companies in the world, placed its EoI before Finance Minister AMA Muhith in August for the construction of the Dhaka–Chittagong elevated expressway.
From CSCEC proposal, Economic Relations Division (ERD) prepared a summary where Muhith was quoted to have said that the expressway is not necessary at this moment as the Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane highway has been opened to traffic recently.
The summary, a copy of which obtained by UNB, also said the government of China did not respond to Bangladesh’s proposal for the project in 2016 although Bangladesh tried to manage the fund from China.
CSCEC, however, now said, “We’re pleased to offer full Chinese finance with low-interest rates, or execution of this high-priority project under the BOT basis, whichever the Bangladesh government deems fit.”
A 2013 Asian Development Bank (ADB) study shows that 90 percent of Bangladesh’s goods for export-import are transported on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway. Around 60 percent of the vehicles using the road carry goods, while 27 percent transport passengers.
Under the plan, the Dhaka–Chittagong Expressway will begin from Kanchpur, a key entry point to the capital, and will end in Sitakunda on the outskirts of the port city.
According to the sources in the Economic Relations Division (ERD), the ADB is helping Bangladesh design a new expressway between Dhaka and Chittagong to boost trade and ease congestion on the existing highway linking these cities.