Japan will provide Bangladesh with a loan worth 415 million dollars for a huge bridge project on the Padma River, aimed at linking some 30 million in the south to Dhaka, Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain said on Wednesday, dpa reported
"This is a great, memorable day for Bangladesh, as Japan has extended its hand to us even after the disastrous tsunami and earthquake," Hossain told reporters after the two countries signed a deal for a loan on favourable credit terms.
Bangladesh Economic Relations Division secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and Japan International Cooperation Agency chief representative Takao Toda signed the agreement in Dhaka.
Last month, the World Bank confirmed funding of 1.2 billion dollars for the construction of the 6.1-kilometre-long bridge, the cost of which is estimated at 2.9 billion dollars.
Bangladesh is expected to sign further loan agreements with the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank for 750 million dollars. The government will provide the rest to complete the project, which is aimed at boosting the economy in the region.
The government is aiming to put out an international tender for the project and works along the river, once the World Bank has given its approval. The bank is insisting on transparency in the funding.