The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is expected to help Bangladesh ease transborder and regional trade through facilitating infrastructural development and regulatory reforms, officials have said.
Under the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC), the Manila-based lender has assured Dhaka of its technical and financial support to this effect.
Economic Relations Division (ERD) officials said an ADB team on a recent mission in Dhaka sat with public agencies and ministries concerned preparatory to the proposed project.
The multilateral funder is likely to provide $1.5 million for doing a feasibility study and other pre-project work, they disclosed.
Some five ministries and agencies will be involved with the transborder project under which they will build infrastructure in land ports and reform customs rules and regulations.
"First, the ADB will give us technical support to complete a feasibility study and other preparatory work for the trade facilitation project," said an ERD Additional Secretary Farida Nasreen.
"It (ADB) will then come up with investment project," she told the FE.
"We wrapped up a meeting with the ADB mission last week when the lender has assured us of providing financial and technical support for the SASEC trade facilitation project."
The proposed project is very good for the country as it will facilitate simplification of customs for foreign trade procedures in land port areas, Ms Nasreen said.
Bangladesh is one of the geographically potential countries as it connects the South Asian nations on one side and South-East Asian countries on another.
Since the Asian highway will cross Bangladesh territory, according to officials, cross-border and regional trade facilitation projects will help boost both intra- and inter-regional businesses.
Under the ADB-aided project, they said, the Bangladesh Land Port Authority (BLPA) under shipping ministry will develop necessary infrastructures at key ports like Benapole, Sonamasjid, Bhomra and Burimari.
The BLPA will build warehouses at the ports to keep both importables and exportables with highest security.
Both Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and Roads and Highways Department (RHD) will develop the road connectivity in the cross-border land ports.
The Bangladesh Railway (BR) will develop stations and related infrastructure in port areas.
The National Revenue Board (NBR) will reform its customs rules with the support of the ADB aimed at simplifying foreign trade, the ERD officials said.