DHAKA, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) — A power sector project of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is considered as a transformative milestone for rural Bangladesh, elating the country’s millions of people who live in areas which were earlier without any access to the national power grid, reports Xinhua.
The AIIB-financed 165-million-U.S. dollar Power Distribution System Upgrade and Expansion Project including its distribution system, its upgrading and expansion, already help Bangladesh expand electricity coverage by providing nearly 1 million new service connections in rural areas within four months till December, 2017.
The AIIB project is designed to expand electricity coverage by providing 2.5 million new service connections in rural areas and upgrade grid substations and convert overhead distribution lines into underground cables in northern Dhaka.
Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) and Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO) have been entrusted to implement three separate components of the project for which AIIB provided 165 million U.S. dollars, the first batch of loan for the country from the development bank.
Shafiqur Rahman, director for the project’s 98.64 million U.S. dollars BREB component, said, “We’ve already provided almost 1 million new service connections in rural areas across the country.”
“Every month we have been providing some 300,000 new service connections,” he added.
He said the implementation of the project’s BREB component began in September last year after all relevant formalities were completed following its approval at a meeting of Bangladesh’s highest economic policy-making body, Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in July 2016.
The AIIB said in a website post that “the project, upon completion, is expected to benefit about 12.5 million people in rural areas.”
According to the AIIB, the project will supplement other development partner efforts by providing additional financial resources to connect more rural and urban consumers, further reduce distribution losses, and improve the quality and reliability of power supply in Bangladesh.