The relation that has beendeveloped between Bangladesh government and the donor agencies over the PadmaBridge financing would have some indirect impact while making new negotiationor agreement with them, prominent economists opined.
They suggested the government toform a separate body to conduct acceptable investigation into the matter andpunish those who are involved in corruption as well as to continue discussionwith the World Bank and other donor agencies to renovate agreements on PadmaBridge project.
Their opinion came as the AsianDevelopment Bank, following World Bank, cancelled its proposed financing to thePadma Bridge project.
"Now the donor agencies willbe more cautious in dealing new negotiation and agreement with the governmentresulting in delayed approval of new projects," they said.
"Meanwhile, the allegationof corruption in Padma bridge project and the subsequent incidents willcertainly have serious impacts on bilateral relationship between Bangladesh andother countries," they added.
Asian Development Bank (ADB), aco-financer of the Padma bridge project, on Monday expressed its inability torelease fund for the project due to joint nature of co-financing.
The ADB cancelled its proposedfinancing for the project in line with the World Bank, which is a major donorof the project. Commenting on the ADB'saction, former advisor to immediate past caretaker government Dr Akbar Ali Khantold The New Nation that ADB's decision was very much expected, as it was theco-financer of the project.
"The World Bank hasdiscussed with other donors before canceling the project financing. In linewith the World Bank ADB has already cancelled its financing and it is very muchlikely that other donor agencies including JICA will also follow the sametrack," Dr Khan said.
"The uneasy relationshipthat has developed between the government and the donor agencies would haveindirect impact including delayed approval of new project or agreement withthem," he added. Former finance advisor to the last caretaker governmentDr AB Mirza Azizul Islam said World Bank and other donor agencies are not likelyto cancel financing other projects but the relation that has developed wouldresult in delayed fund release and approval of other projects, he said.
"The government should stillkeep talking with World Bank because it is the biggest donor of Bangladesh. FinancingPadma bridge project from any other source, other than donor agencies, will beextremely costly and not be feasible," he added.
Executive director ofTransferency International Bangladesh (TIB) Dr Iftekharuzzaman, however,emphasized on conducting acceptable investigation on the allegation ofcorruption in the project and punish those involved. "If government failto address the issue of corruption properly, it will have long term impact notonly on relation with the donor agencies but also on bilateral relation withother countries," Dr Iftekhar said.