Turkey's private asset management firm RHEA has offered a $1 billion conditional soft loan to Bangladesh for winning infrastructure construction deals, officials and traders said on Saturday.
The firm also pledged a $5 million donation for healthcare and educational projects in Bangladesh, if the government accepts the loan under a pre-condition of giving work orders to Turkish builders for building flyovers and bridges.
RHEA has authorised its Bangladesh agent DANA group by signing a deeds to liaise with the Bangladesh finance ministry to process the loan.
The agreement was signed at a meeting of Bangladesh business leaders and Turkey's traders and entrepreneurs attended by visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gul.
"The loan will be forwarded only when the government agrees to allow Turkish builders to construct the infrastructures," Annisul Huq, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) told reporters.
The stance of the government was not known immediately on the pre-condition for the soft loan.
But an officials of the finance ministry said the loan is likely to be availed by the government as it was eager to build flyovers in Dhaka and some important bridges elsewhere.
Gul, the first Turkish president to visit Bangladesh since 1999, arrived in Dhaka on Friday, with an entourage of some 180 people, mostly businessmen and entrepreneurs.
The FBCCI and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey also agreed to boost trade and economic cooperation between the two sides.
"We are the sixth largest economy in Europe and sixteenth in the world as the private sector plays the pivotal role," Gul told the meeting.
Bangladeshi businessmen said the Turkish entrepreneurs could invest in various sectors in Bangladesh including textiles, shipbuilding, energy and tourism.
Gul told a news conference on Friday that the annual bilateral trade could be raised to $1 billion or even more from the existing $600 million.
ReutersLast Mod: 13 Şubat 2010, 18:44