Jatiya Sangsad passes the national budget for the fiscal year 2012-13; The World Bank cancels Padma Bridge project; Deputy Foreign Minister of Myanmar visits Dhaka
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  • (JUNE 25-JULY 1)

    The Jatiya Sangsad on June 28, 2012, passed the national budget for the fiscal year 2012-13 with the highest allocation for the defence ministry. The budget outlines a gross expenditure of Tk 2,83,599 crore, which is 22 percent more than the outgoing Financial Year. 1

    In another development, according to reports, the World Bank (WB) has cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the Padma bridge project with immediate effect, saying it has proof of corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and individuals. 2 Responding to WB’s decision, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said that he thought the World Bank's statement cancelling the fund for the Padma bridge project was rather its outgoing President Robert Zoellick's statement and that it was unacceptable. The finance minister claimed that there was no corruption in the Padma bridge project even though about Tk 1,500 crore had already been spent. Muhith stated, "The World Bank's apprehensions are all about probable corruption that could have taken place if bidders had been selected,”. 3 On the other hand, Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia held Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her family's "corruption" responsible for the World Bank's cancellation of Padma bridge funding. 4 Some economists in Bangladesh fear that cancellation of World Bank funding for the Padma bridge project over alleged corruption in it would have a negative impact on the global donors' perception of Bangladesh and it would put to question credibility of the government's project implementation process5.
    In other developments, according to reports, Deputy Foreign Minister of Myanmar Maung Myint arrived in Dhaka on June 30, 2012 on a three-day trip to lay the groundwork for the upcoming visit by its president. 6