Bangladesh is hoping to get billions of dollars from China as credit during President Xi Jinping’s maiden visit here this week, the first by a Chinese head of state in 30 years, a media report said.
“Loan agreements of a record amount will be signed,” State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan said ahead of Xi’s state visit scheduled for October 14.
Though Mannan did not make public the total amount of credit, a senior official of the finance ministry indicated that the amount could be in the region of $40 billion, bdnews24.com reported.
Xi’s visit, ahead of the eighth BRICS summit in Goa from October 15-16, will be a “milestone,” Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Kong Xuanyou said in Beijing.
During his stay in Dhaka, Xi will call on President Abdul Hamid and hold talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Ma Mingqiang at a seminar recently said the visit would take the Dhaka-Beijing relations to “a new height”.
Bangladesh is expecting China as a partner of its infrastructure development.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammed Shahriar Alam said China expressed its willingness about extending the loans after seeing the “possibilities” that lie in Bangladesh.
“We need big loans now for big infrastructures in order to build a developed Bangladesh within 2041,” former Bangladesh Bank governor Muhammad Farashuddin said.
At least 21 projects on communication, power, fuel, information technology, industries and development of living standards are being discussed for Chinese support.
Those include four each on railways and road transport and power sectors, five on improving standard of life, two on industries, and one each on fuel and Industrial Chemical Technologies (ICT).
Of these projects, the estimated loan to come for the Padma Bridge rail link project is $2.57 billion, Dhaka-Chittagong railway project $3.03 billion, Dhaka-Ashulia elevated expressway $1.39 billion, Sitakunda-Cox’s Bazar marine drive expressway and coastal protection project $2.85 billion and four-lane Dhaka-Sylhet highway project $1.6 billion.
The ICT project that is likely to get $1 billion credit from China is about establishing digital connectivity.
Xi’s visit to Bangladesh is regarded as significant as it is taking place after 30 years. In March 1986, then Chinese president Li Xiannian had visited the country.