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AIIB expected to finance BD rural water supply project

AIIB expected to finance BD rural water supply project

The Beijing-based new bank already financed projects in rural electrification
Dhaka, Sep 4 – Bangladesh is likely to receive another funding from newly established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for improvement of drinking water supply and sanitation facilities in the rural municipal areas.According to official sources in the China-led multilateral financial institution, AIIB and World Bank will jointly implement a scheme titled `Bangladesh Municipal Water Supply and Sanitation Project` at a total cost of $270 million.
Of the total cost, AIIB and World Bank will invest $130 million each while Bangladesh government will have $10 million investment, said Laurel Ostfield, head of communication and development of the Beijing-based AIIB while talking to reporters during the visit of a high profile delegation of her bank to Dhamrai of Manikganj on Monday.
The 5-member AIIB delegation led by its UK Director Emil Levendoglu visited the area to see the implementation progress of the new bank`s $165 million funding for the Rural Electrification Board (REB).
The project titled `Distribution System Upgrade and Expansion` is a part of a greater scheme of $274 million in power and energy sector which will benefit $12.5 million people through providing $2.5 million new power connections in the rural area across the country.
During the visit, the delegation members had interactions with the beneficiaries of the project where they said that now they have been benefited a lot by getting electricity connection as it improved their quality and standard of living. “In addition to use of different electric appliances, now I can easily recharge our mobile phones and communicate with my husband working abroad. My children can study at night taking benefit of electricity” said Hasna Begum.
However, some of the villagers alleged that they had to spend up to Tk 7000 to get an electricity connection although official cost is about Tk 600.
“We had to pay the extra amount to some middlemen to get electricity connections”, alleged Osman Mia.
The villagers suggested strong monitoring of the project implementation to ensure transparency in every stage of the project.
Talking to reporters Emil Levendoglu said the AIIB is considering more funding for Bangladesh to improve its infrastructure and livelihood of the rural people.
“As part of the AIIB objective, the new project on water supply and sanitation were designed to bring more benefits to the people of Bangladesh”, he said.
Laurel Ostfield informed that the AIIB will consider the new fund for Bangladesh in a meeting in April next year.
She said that by providing sustainable access to water supply and sanitation to selected small to medium pourashavas, the new project will contribute to the government`s key objectives of improved urban environment and health in Bangladesh. – UNB