Bangladesh gets boost from China
investment By Syed Tashfin
DHAKA - China has agreed to make
the second-biggest investment by any nation in
Bangladesh by contributing two-thirds of the
US$659 million construction cost of fertilizer
factory in Sylhet. The remaining funds will be
The Shahjalal Fertilizer
Factory, once complete in about three years, will
produce around 580,800 tonnes of urea annually and
around 330,000 tonnes of ammonia, cutting by more
a third the 1.6 million tonnes of urea Bangladesh
has to import every year. Three more fertilizer
factories are to be built within Bangladesh soon,
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said late month as
she laid the foundation stone at Sylhet, flanked
by cabinet ministers and
Chinese Ambassador in
Bangladesh Li Jun.
This is the
"second-largest foreign investment" by any country
in Bangladesh, a senior official at the Bangladesh
industries ministry said.
million contribution to the Shahjalal Fertilizer
plant comes after India made a $1.5 billion
investment in a coal-fired power plant in January.
Bangladesh expects Indian companies to invest
between $7 billion and $9 billion in its power
sector in the coming years, according to an
Economic Times report last month. The country will
need about $30 billion over the next six years to
meet its planned increase in power capacity and
expects about 25-30% of the investments to come
from India, the report cited Bangladesh Power
Secretary Abul Kalam Azad as saying.
has been pressing Beijing to make investments in
infrastructure, energy and other sectors to close
the trade gap between Bangladesh and China. During
the12 months to last June, Bangladesh exported
only around $400 million of goods to China against
$7 billion of imports, 21% of Bangladesh's total
imports of $33 billion.
That does not take
account of a Bangladesh Air Force agreement signed
last year with China to purchase 16 F-7BGI Fighter
planes, three MI-171 helicopters and two Air
Defense radar systems, worth a possible total of
more than $600 million.
China is to
install a centralized effluent treatment plant at
the under-construction Savar Leather Industrial
Park in Savar, northwest of Dhaka.
Chinese joint venture of JLEPCL-DCL was awarded
the $58.34 million project on March 11. The
leather park will house 195 tanneries, which will
export processed leather to the European Union and
United States. The tanneries, at present located
at Hazaribagh in Dhaka, have posed environmental
threats over the past decade as they discharge
toxic waste into the river Buriganga.
After tests in 2000 found zero-levels of
dissolved oxygen in the river, the government,
under pressure from environmental organizations,
moved to create the $66 million, 200-acre Savar
leather park project in 2003.
ready to participate in a deep-sea project at
Sonadia Island on the Bay of Bengal and help set
up road and rail links with Dhaka through Myanmar,
United News of Bangladesh has reported. China says
the propose deep sea port on Sonadia Island is of
strategic importance to the country and will help
it become a transportation and logistic center for
"So long as the Bangladesh
side shows enough will and determination, this
project can obtain positive progress very soon,''
outgoing Chinese Ambassador Zhang Xianyi said in
January before ending his term in the post. Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina sought Chinese assistance
to build the seaport during her visit to Beijing
The ambassador said China
Harbour Engineering Company Ltd had set up an
office in Dhaka and is ready to take part in the
Construction is due to start in
2014 on the 7th China-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge
at Kazirtek, on the Arial Khan river, between
Dhaka and Barisal after a contract was signed on
January 3. China's Anhui Construction Engineering
Group Overseas Development Co is to build three
other bridges on the Madaripur-Shariatpur-Chandpur
road in Bangladesh. The total cost of the four
bridges will be $33.67 million, of which $24.42
million would be received as a loan from China,
with the rest to be provided by Bangladesh.
Syed Tashfin Chowdhury is the
Editor of Xtra, the weekend magazine of New Age,
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