‘Tap capital market for Padma bridge’

The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) has suggested that the Bangladesh government consider tapping capital markets for funding the construction of the Padma Bridge.This comes in the wake of the government’s decision to withdraw request of World Bank financing of the $2.9 billion project, after which the ADB and the JICA have backed out of the project.

The government says it wants to start work on the bridge within two months but has not given a clear idea of how it proposes to finance the biggest-ever infrastructure project in Bangladesh.

After the first meeting of the newly-formed Coordination Committee for Capital Markets on Sunday, its convenor Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed said the Dhaka Stock Exchange wants to do its bit to help the government finance the project.

Ahmed is also the chairman of the apex business body, FBCCI.

“The capital markets may play a major role in Bangladesh’s plans to fund the Padma Bridge with its own resources,” said DSE President Rakibur Rahman. “Atleast half the funds needed for the project can be raised from the capital markets.”

“If the government revealed its plans on how it contemplated funding the project, we will send our proposals on raising funds,” he said.

“Such projects across the world are financed by funds raised from capital markets because they don’t carry an interest burden,” Kazi Akramuddin said.

“The Dhaka Stock Exchange wants to chip in funds for the Padma Bridge project. We stand in solidarity with the Stock Exchange,” he said.

He said “convertible bonds” could be offered in the capital markets after turning the Bangabandhu Bridge into a company.

“Other public sector companies can be enlisted and those already enlisted can also offer their shares to raise funds,” he said.

Rakibur Rahman said the DSE will campaign all over the world to tap non-resident Bangladeshis to invest in these instruments offered to raise funds for the Padma bridge.

Kazi Akramuddin said that the Coordination Committee on Capital Markets was already active under his leadership to lift the spirit in the markets. ”Things will soon get better.”

“There is no dearth of investors or funds waiting to be invested. The trouble lies with investor confidence and coordination which is what we are trying to fix,” he said.

He said if the markets can get a boost, it will be easy to implement the Vision-2021.

Kazi Akramuddin said the monetary policy will boost both the capital markets and the banking sector.

Rakibur Rahman said that the DSE is soon going to introduce an Islamist Sharia Index to attract more investments in the capital markets.bdnews24.com

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