Japan will give USD$100 million additional loan to Bangladesh

Japan pledged to provide US $ 100 million additional loan to Bangladesh for the construction of the much-awaited Padma Bridge.

The promise came at the 19-point joint statement after the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s summit level talks with her Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan at his office here.

With the announcement of US$ 100 million additional loan, the Japanese assistance in the 2.9 billion US dollar mega project will stand at $ 400 million.

Tokyo earlier had promised to provide $ 300 million to Bangladesh for construction of the bridge.

“The two prime ministers expressed their strong expectation that the project would substantially contribute towards the economic development and poverty alleviation of Bangladesh through improved connectivity between its capital area and its east and southwest regions,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told newsmen.

He said the two premiers recognized the importance of infrastructure of social and human resources development of for sustainable economic growth and the achievement of MDGs as the talks were held in a very cordial atmosphere.

“Both of them called her Japan tour to be very fruitful while during talks our prime minister appreciated Japanese contribution towards Bangladesh’s development while the Japanese premier praised Sheikh Hasina’s leadership,” Azad said.

Sheikh Hasina, he said, particularly praised Japan’s support for core infrastructure development, such as large-scale bridges, roads, railways, power plants and electronic distribution facilities as well as Japan’s assistance in the areas of education and health.

Azad said Naoto Kan described his relations with Sheikh Hasina as “brother and sister” while it was tightened further with her Tokyo visit while his country would continue to contribute towards Bangladesh’s development.

He said, Naota particularly appreciated Bangladesh’s role on climate issue while he called the investment environment in Bangladesh as “very good” as Dhaka sought enhanced Japanese investment to the country.

In the joint statement, Bangladesh and Japan also reaffirmed that peace and prosperity in the South Asia are vital for realizing peace and prosperity across Asia and in the world.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan commended the initiatives exercised by Bangladesh at the launch of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and expressed his commitment to support the grouping for promoting regional cooperation.

The two prime ministers reaffirmed the importance of further enhancing the long-standing close and cooperative relationship between the two countries, sharing democratic values.

They also reached a common view that they will cooperate further in order to bolster global peace and security as well as the prosperity of the international community and the South Asian region.

The two prime ministers expressed satisfaction at the substantive results gained following the meeting of their respective foreign ministers held this year. They also decided to make further efforts to strengthen high-level policy consultations and to expend high-level visits and dialogue at various levels, including exchanges among opinion leaders and members of their parliaments.

The two prime ministers welcomed the steady economic growth of Bangladesh, under the Vision 2021 to transform it into a middle income country-the 50th anniversary of its independence. They also noted with satisfaction the growing interest of Japanese enterprises in Bangladesh.

In this regard, Prime Minister underscored the need for an improved environment for investment in Bangladesh, while Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina referred to the attractive investment incentives offered by Bangladesh.

Expressing her deep appreciation for providing ODA loan to the Padma Bridge, Sheikh Hasina stated that her government will extend all possible assistance and cooperation for the smooth implementation of the Japanese investment in Bnagladesh.

The Bangladesh premier further stated Bangladesh’ readiness to formulate and implement an Action Plan towards further enhancement of Japanese investment in Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan expressed Japan’s intention to work jointly with Bangladesh for such purposes. In this context, both the prime ministers decided to commence close and regular dialogues at senior official level to identify measures to strengthen their economic partnerships, including in the areas of trade, investment and infrastructure development.

The Bangladesh premier appreciated the warm hospitality of Prime Minister Naoto Kan and extended a cordial invitation to him to visit Bangladesh. The Japanese prime minister received the invitation with profound appreciation.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed that the rules of origin of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) be relaxed on knit products with a view to strengthening bilateral economic relations through the promotion of textile trade.

Responding that a review has already started within the Japanese government on this matter, Prime Minister Naoto Kan assured Sheikh Hasina of actively considering the proposal and reaching a conclusion at the earliest possible time.

The two prime ministers underscored the importance of
promoting infrastructure development in the field of electricity,
taking into account environmental aspects and with the
partnership between public and private sectors.

They also stressed the need that enhancement of ICT
infrastructure will create a favourable environment for the
development of Bangladesh, facilitating the private sector
activities between the two countries and expected smooth progress
in the cooperation between the two countries to improve
telecommunication network.

The two prime ministers shared the view that poverty
reduction and sustainable development, in particular the
achievement of the MDGs, are crucial issues that the
international community is facing today.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan highly commended Bangladesh for its
remarkable achievement in attaining the MDGs, especially in
reducing child mortality. He also congratulated Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina on the receipt of the MDGs Award for Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina thanked Japan for its continued support in the
field of maternal and child health, while Prime Minister Naoto
Kan renewed Tokyo ‘s commitment to assist Bangladesh in achieving
the MDGs, especially in the field.

The two prime ministers stressed the importance of disaster
management in Bangladesh in view of the potential threat of
natural disasters that have increased due to the effects of the
climate change.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highly appreciated that the
development of early warning system and cyclone shelters built
with the support from Japan and the international community had
contributed to the reduction of human casualties in cyclone Sidr
in Bangladesh in 2007.

The two prime ministers reaffirmed their unequivocal
condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Recognizing that the threat of terrorism remains a global
security concern, they reiterated their determination to address
the threat posed by terrorists to peace, security, stability and
prosperity.

They shared the views that UN peacekeeping operations
constitute an integral part of the post-conflict peace-building
process. They reaffirmed their commitment to continuing work
closely in various international forums to enhance the overall
effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations, Bangladesh as the
highest troop-contributing country and Japan, as the second
largest contributor respectively.

The two prime ministers reaffirmed their determination to
strengthen their cooperation for early reform of the UN Security
Council (UNSC), which would include the expansion of both
permanent and non-permanent categories, in order to render the
body more representative, legitimate, effective and responsive to
the realities of the international community in the 21st century.

In response to Bangladesh’s support for Japan’s permanent
membership in the UNSC, Prime Minister Kan expressed appreciation
for the support.

The two prime ministers reaffirmed their shared commitment
to realizing “a world without nuclear weapons”.

They stressed the importance of early entry into force of
the comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the
immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations on a
Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).They decided that both
countries will enhance cooperation in nuclear disarmament and
non- proliferation, at relevant international fora.

The two prime ministers reiterated the urgent need for
resolving the climate change challenges and the importance of
strengthening dialogue on these issues in various forums.

They reaffirmed their determination to constructively
working together towards a successful outcome of the 16th
Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change in Mexico.

They shared the view that it is essential to seek the
earliest adoption of a new and comprehensive legal document which
establishes a fair and effective international framework for
tackling climate change, with the participation of all major
economies, based on the Copenhagen Accord.

The two prime ministers reviewed the outcomes of the G-20
meeting recently held in the Republic of Korea and reaffirmed
that continued international cooperation is imperative to achieve
sustainable world growth.

They also welcomed G-20’s commitment to development issues
and stressed, in particular, the importance of taking into
consideration the needs of Least Developed Countries (LDCs),
Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island
Developing States (SIDS), whose development challenges are most
acute.

Sheikh Hasina sought the active participation of Japan in
the upcoming LDC IV conference in Istanbul. Prime Minister Kan
assured Sheikh Hasina of his government’s continued support for
LDC. Members of the Bangladesh delegation that took part in the
talks included Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Foreign
Minister Dipu Moni, Prime Minister’s Advisers Dr Moshiur Rahman
and Dr Alauddin Ahmed, Ambassador-At-Large M Ziauddin, Executive
Chairman of BoI Dr SA Samad, Principal Secretary Abdul Karim,
Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes and Press Secretary to the PM
Abul Kalam Azad.

TOKYO, Japan Nov 29 (BSS)

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