Thai contractors will see greater opportunities to build basic infrastructure and public utilities in Bangladesh after Italian-Thai Development Plc won a contract for an elevated expressway in Dhaka.
The company won the bid to build the four-lane road in three-and-a-half years. This largest public-private partnership in Bangladesh is expected to create 5,000 jobs for Thai workers during the construction period.
The 40-billion-baht, 26-kilometre expressway will link Hazrat Shahjalal airport in northern Dhaka and Jatrabari district in the southeast of the city, helping to alleviate traffic congestion and enhance communications efficiency.
The Thai government was directly involved in negotiations with Bangladesh as part of its policy of supporting Thai construction businesses abroad.
The Bangladeshi government will own 30% of the project with financial support from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
Kiat Sittheeamorn, president of the Thailand Trade Representative, and other Thai officials recently attended the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the project.
He said Bangladesh, which still lacks basic infrastructure, is planning several megaprojects including ports, a superhighway network, a new international airport, mass-transit systems and power generation.
The government’s “Bangladesh: Vision 2021” aims to make the country a regional economic and commercial hub by that year. Mr Kiat told officials that Thailand’s public and private sectors were ready to help the country meet that goal.
Bangladesh also plans a 10-km elevated expressway to the north of the country and a highway connecting it with Nepal, Bhutan, eastern India, southwestern China, Burma and Thailand.
It needs new power plants to supply 5,000 megawatts on top of its existing supply of only 55,700 MW.
The current power shortage is an obstacle to attracting foreign investment.
Bangladesh has no restrictions on most foreign investment other than in arms, forestry, nuclear power and banknotes.
The Thai government recently approved a tax waiver on income generated from Thai investments abroad.