Padma loan cancellation ‘right’, defends World Bank boss
The newly appointed World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim has said the decision to cancel loan for the Bangladesh’s Padma bridge project was ‘appropriate’, according to international media reports.
His comment came on first day on the job when Bangladesh government was preparing to hold discussion with the top management of the Bank to review its decision.
“I think it was appropriate,” The Globe and Mail quoted Kim to have said on Tuesday of the decision in his first meeting with journalists on Monday.
Kim said that they were ‘very concerned’ about the well-being of the poorest people in Bangladesh.
“But what I must stress is that, the bank’s position is that it does not tolerate corruption,” Kim was quoted by the Candian newspaper to have said.
The World Bank cancelled its pledged $1.2-billion loan for Bangladesh’s $2.9 billion biggest infrastructure project saying the government had not cooperated in investigating “high-level corruption” in the project, an allegation Bangladesh refused.
The Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith in a statement made in the parliament on Monday spoke about the government’s ‘flexible stance over several proposals by the World Bank in order to save the continuity of the project’.
The global lender had issued a statement on Friday announcing its decision, just two days before Kim’s predecessor Robert Zoellick’s tenure in the bank expired.
Muhith blamed Zoellick for taking the ‘illogical’ decision, which he said hampered the image of Bangladesh and believed that it would reconsider the decision.
Muhith told Parliament that they would engage the top leadership of the Bank any time to break the deadlock surrounding global lending agency’s cancellation of promised funds.
He had also said they were continuously negotiating with the influential members of the Bank.
Co-financier the Asian Development Bank (ADB) also hinted to cancel funding for the of the Padma bridge project following WB’s footsteps.