Saudi Arabia in talks over multi-billion dollar investment in Bangladesh

Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
Published : 07:30, Aug 11, 2019 | Updated : 20:07, Aug 11, 2019

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina meets with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Royal Palace in Riyadh on Oct 17, 2018. FOCUS BANGLA/File PhotoBangladesh and Saudi Arabia were holding talks to invest several billion dollars in over 25 projects as the both countries have already signed at least seven agreements on several sectors including power, furniture, port infrastructure development, chemical and cement industries.
Discussions were also on Aramco’s investment in three different projects, building of an airplane repair and maintenance facility at Lalmonirhat, two new railway projects in Chattogram and Barishal and opening of branches of two Bangladesh banks in Saudi Arabia.
The talks were being held mainly with private organisations in Saudi Arabia, said a government official.
Two separate agreements were signed last month, one between the Shipping Ministry and Jeddah Port Authority and another between the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Engineering Dimension, the government official added.
Large-scale feasibility studies would now be conducted for implementation of both agreements, the source said.
Bangladesh Air Force was holding talks with Saudi Arabia’s Al Salam Aerospace Industries Corporation regarding construction of an aircraft repair and maintenance facility at Lalmonirhat, a major diplomatic project among 25 others that were being discussed at present.
Bangladesh’s Air Chief Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat has already paid a visit to the other country regarding this project.
According to an Air Force official, the facility would not only be able to render services to aircrafts in Bangladesh but also that of other countries in the region.
Bangladesh Air Force was at present discussing the matter with the other country’s Ministry of Defence whose approval was required foe implementation of the project, the official added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz at the Royal Palace in Riyadh on Oct 18, 2018. PID/File PhotoRAILWAY PROJECTS
Saudi Arabia has expressed its interest to invest around Tk 20 billion in two railway projects in Bangladesh.
The projects included the $16 billion Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar Hi-speed Train project and the $4 billion dollar Dhaka-Barishal-Payra Metre-guage Rail Line project, another official said.

High ranking officials of the Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, have already paid visits to Bangladesh after the company sought to invest in three new projects here.
Aramco’s LNG Division wants to build a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Bangladesh while Aramco Trading Company wants to sell Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to us. Besides these, Aramco’s main company wants to establish an oil refinery here.
Aramco’s delegation met with State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid during its visit to Bangladesh while the government had sought officials proposals from the country that had the capacity to invest billions here, an official source said.

Sonali Bank and Exim Bank, which were based in Bangladesh, had obtained approval from the government to set up branches in Saudi Arabia and were waiting for approval from the other country.
The Life Insurance Corporation had also sought permission from the Saudi government to provide insurance services to Bangladeshi expatriates living in the country.