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United Arab Emirates offers $320m as initial investment for port envelopment

The United Arab Emirates has offered to invest $320 million, in the initial phase of a multi-billion package for the development of port facilities and an inland container terminal in Bangladesh.
The UAE Ministry of International Cooperation and Development offered the investment in a recent communication to the Finance Ministry.
UAE offered the investment for building the Sonadia Deep Sea Port, an inland container terminal at Gazipur and equipping the New Mooring Container Terminal at Chittagong Port, all mega infrastructure projects.
Shipping ministry estimated the cost of the three projects at over $4 billion, said an official.
The UAE government proposal, seen by New Age, states that out of the initial investment of $320 million, $260 million could be spent to equip the NMCT, $60 million to develop the inland container terminal at Gazipur and $10 million for carrying out detailed studies for the development of the deep sea port at Sonadia.
The UAE wants the investment to be handled by the two governments.
Accordingly, DP World, a UAE government owned company has been assigned to handle the investment, a finance ministry official said.
Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE minister for International Cooperation and Development, in a recent letter to finance minister AMA Muhith, explained the details of the investment plan.
However, senior officials in the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office, assigned to evaluate foreign investment proposals for the port sector, said no decision could be taken at the fag end of the tenure of the government.
‘We are not in a position now to give decision,’ they said.
In June, the government appointed a high-powered committee headed by principal secretary at PMO Sheikh Wahiduzzaman to scrutinise foreign investment proposals for the development of the deep sea port and other port related projects.
The committee includes, among others, the foreign secretary, commerce secretary and shipping secretary.
During her visit to Dhaka in January, UAE Minister for Foreign Trade Sheika Lubna opened the discussion on her country’s investment plan for the infrastructure projects.
She also met prime minister Sheikh Hasina besides several influential ministers of the government in this regard.
The Netherlands, China and India also showed interest to invest in the proposed deep sea port of Bangladesh, sources said.
The UAE proposed a 50-year contract period for each of the projects.
It also sought direct and indirect tax waivers and tax holidays with no restrictions on profit and capital repatriation.
For the deep sea port development UAE  proposed joint venture arrangement, for the NMCT it favours Equip, Operate and Transfer method and it wants to invest in the  Gazipur inland container terminal on Build, Operate and Transfer basis.
DP World, founded by merging Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai Ports International, operates more than 60 terminals across six continents, with container handling generating around 80 per cent of its revenue.
It has expansion and development projects in key growth markets, including India, China and the Middle East. A majority of the company is owned by Dubai World.


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