Turning Bangladesh into digital economy: Ecnec clears 2,542C project

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A total of 10 projects — five new and five revised ones — were approved in Tuesday’s meeting

The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday cleared the “Enhancing Digital Government and Economy (EDGE)” project involving a huge amount of Tk2541.64 crore, aiming to turn Bangladesh into a digital economy.

Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) under the ICT Division will implement the project in the country by December 2026 with the World Bank’s finance of Tk2507.05 crore and the government’s finance of Tk34.59 crore.

The approval of ten projects placed by eight ministries came from the Ecnec meeting held with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The prime minister joined the meeting virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban, while others connected from the NEC conference room in the city.

“A total of 10 projects — five new and five revised ones — were approved in today’s meeting. The total estimated cost of the projects is Tk7447.07 crore (only additional costs of revised projects were counted here),” said Planning Minister MA Mannan while briefing reporters after the meeting.

Of the total cost, Tk3,682.28 crore will be borne from the government fund, while Tk153.81 crore will come from the funds of an organization concerned and Tk3,610.98 from foreign sources as soft loans, he said.

Talking about the EDGE project, Planning Commission’s member Nasima Begum said the remaining works of building Digital Bangladesh will be done under the project.

The main project objective is to create a digital economy-friendly environment and provide policy support for development of the digital economy and thus face the challenges of the fourth industrialrevolution by designing the strategies and action plans as well as creating skilled manpower and employment scopes.

The major operations of the EDGE project include procurement of ICT technology, software, office equipment and vehicles; procurement of consultancy services; training and research on digital economy and block allocation for facing post-Covid situation.

Ecnec also approved Comprehensive Infrastructure Development of Comilla City Corporation Project involving Tk1,538.10 crore, which will be implemented by December 2024.

The major project operations include construction of 15-storey modern city Bhaban (with two basement), employee’s colony (dormitory), extension of regional offices and Mostafapur truck terminal as well as development of Chawkbazar bus terminal, acquisition of 10 acres of land, development of 146 graveyards,construction of roads, drainages and footpaths, construction of seven public toilets and tree plantation.

The three other fresh projects are ‘’Climate Smart Agriculture and Water Management (CSAWM) (BWDB Part)” involving Tk1,182.55 crore, Establishment of Burn and Plastic Surgery Units at five medical college hospitals (Sylhet, Barishal, Rangpur, Rajshahi and Faridpur) with Tk456.09 crore, and Rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructures with Tk322.99 crore.

The five revised projects include Improvement of Navigability of Mongla Port-Chandpur-Mawa-Goalondo-Pakshi River route (1st revised) with an additional cost of Tk334 crore, Establishment of Sports Schools at Chittagong and Rajshahi under BKSP (3rd revised) with an additional cost of Tk31.86 crore, Establishment of 563 Model Mosques and Islamic Cultural Centers at each district and upazila (2nd revised) with an additional cost of Tk713 crore, Development of ICT infrastructures, Human Resources and Technology Skills of Jatiya Sangsad Secretariat (3rd revised)with an additional cost of Tk13.84 crore, and Rural Infrastructure Development of greater Noakhali district-3rd phase (1st revised) with an additional cost of Tk313 crore.

At the meeting, the prime minister directed the Water Resources Ministry and the Shipping Ministry to work in an integrated way in case of cross-cutting projects like dredging ones so that river banks remain protected, said MA Mannan.

Sheikh Hasina also asked the authorities concerned to take initiatives for setting up sports schools in all other divisions using the fallen lands (unused lands) not destroying arable lands.

Replying to a question, the planning minister said the revision of projects is a running problem. But there are also some practical problems here which lead to the revision of the projects. The problems are like changes in rate schedule, Covid-19 pandemic and land acquisition-related complexity.
UNB

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