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2019-03-18 10:43:11 BdST

Poor progress in French projects

A portfolio meeting on the projects funded by French development partner has found unsatisfactory progress in road and water sector work.

The tenure of some projects of the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) ended without completion.

The meeting reviewed the projects under Road Transport and Bridges Ministry and Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) very slow.

Sources said the tenure of the capacity building of Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) ended without completing the work.

The AFD has been supporting seven projects under road transport, power and water sectors. Four of them are of loans and two of grants.

One project is being implemented with both grant and loan.

The Economic Relations Division (ERD) organised the tripartite meeting with government agencies and AFD recently to review progress.

Some of the AFD-funded projects are riddled with problems like fund shortage.

AFD regional director Nicolas Fornage and directors of all seven projects, among others, attended the meeting chaired by Additional Secretary Dr Nahid Rashid.

Official sources said ERD and AFD representatives decided to visit the sites of the 'Greater Dhaka Sustainable Urban Project', known as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), as its progress is painfully slow.

Physical progress in the project is only 10.14 per cent and financial 15 per cent until January 2019.

The BRT project is being implemented by Roads and Highways Department (RHD), Bangladesh Bridges Authority (BBA) and Local Government and Engineering Department.

Officials said the project's progress in the BBA's part was not satisfactory for which overall progress was recorded slow.

However, sources said the RHD's part-construction of the surface road-was also slow for failure to work on the traffic congested highway.

Meanwhile, the 'Dhaka Environmentally Sustainable Water Supply project' was recorded 10 per cent progress for lack of funds to pay contractors.

Sources said as technical problems remain in the credit facility agreement (CFA) signed with the AFD, the implementer DWASA faced problems in paying bills.

However, ERD sources said the AFD representatives at the meeting expressed inability in the CFA amendment.

The DWASA and DTCA, however, requested the AFD through the ERD to extend tenure of capacity-building projects.

The AFD was satisfied with the progress in the power project 'Construction of new 132/33 Kv substation under DPDC' under Power System Expansion and Efficiency Improvement Investment Programme.

The officials said the AFD agreed to provide an additional $30 million to cover the extra payment needed due to technical problems.

The project under the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association to develop capacity-building framework on green industry in the garment sector completed in time.

The meeting, however, included two projects in the pipeline for energy efficiency and Meghna river projection into the AFD portfolio.


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