'Bangladesh to attach top priority to regional connectivity'
Bangladesh will attach top priority to infrastructure-related projects to strengthen regional connectivity during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's proposed visit to China later this month.Updated: Mar 07, 2010, 12:58 IST
Bangladesh will attach top priority to infrastructure-related projects to strengthen regional connectivity during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's proposed visit to China later this month.
The New Age quoted Communications Minister Abul Hossain "Regional connectivity will get top priority," as saying.
He said that the present government's focus was on connectivity for transforming the country into a regional hub for trades and commerce.
The minister's comments came as the prime minister is scheduled to leave for China on March 17 on a five-day official tour, three months after she paid a visit to India in January when both Dhaka and New Delhi promised to strengthen connectivity in South Asia region.
Hossain said Dhaka would attach top priority to construction of the Chittagong-Teknaf railroad to be connected with China's Yunnan province via Myanmar in future.
Apart from the railroad project, Dhaka would seek financial assistance of more than $ 3 billion from Beijing to construct another friendship bridge, set up power plants, and construct Chittagong-Myanmar-Kunming highway and a deep-sea port in the Bay of Bengal.
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan told the paper that there was strong possibility for seeking Chinese financial and technical assistance for building the deep-sea port on Sonadia Island in Cox's Bazar.
The shipping ministry is looking for donor countries to begin construction work of the port next year as the ministry has already completed its technical feasibility study.
He hoped that China would respond positively to the project after it had shown keen interest in developing port facilities in Pakistan and Myanmar to strengthen its trade and commerce with the South Asian countries.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Bangladesh imported 18 per cent of its goods from China in 2007-2008 pushing Dhaka's trade deficit with Beijing to $ 3.8 billion.
Both the communications and shipping ministers hoped that the upcoming visit of the prime minister would help Bangladesh narrow the trade gap.
This will be the second visit to China by Sheikh Hasina as Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She paid her first visit to Beijing as Premier during the previous 1996-2001 tenure of her Awami League-led government.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni earlier said the "Look East" which was being pursued by the Khaleda Zia's previous BNP regime was still valid but not at the cost of ties with neighbours in the region or other countries.
"The Look East Policy is still there," she said.