Russia is actively considering financing the Bangabandhu Satellite-2 project and has assured Bangladesh of completing the loan sanction process fast, Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman and CEO of the Bangladesh Satellite Company Limited, told The Business Standard.
Russian representatives pledged to attach importance to lending to the Bangabandhu Satellite-2 project during the three-day 4th Session of the Russia-Bangladesh Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation meeting that concluded Wednesday in response to Bangladesh's request for a Russian loan for the project, said Shahjahan.
According to sources, Bangladesh has requested Russia to provide a loan of $345 million for Bangabandhu Satellite-2.
On the last day of the commission meeting, Sharifa Khan, secretary of the Economic Relations Division, led the Bangladesh side and Ilya v. Shestakov, head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries, Russian Federation, headed the Russian side.
In the meeting, Russia proposed exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Bangladesh as the latter seeks to meet its long-term energy needs. Russia has also proposed exporting gas pipelines and other equipment to Bangladesh, as well as modernising the country's Ghorashal Unit-1 and Unit-2.
The meeting also discussed ways to smoothen banking transactions between the two countries.
Discussions were held on skills development, agriculture, increasing bilateral trade, fisheries, railways, ICT, greater connectivity, especially people-to-people contacts, as well.
The two sides explored various areas of cooperation and agreed to have a meaningful engagement to reap mutual benefits. The sides highlighted the importance of the commission meeting and expressed their willingness to address the diversified fields of cooperation and consultation reflected in the protocol, says an ERD press release on Wednesday.
ERD officials, however, told The Business Standard that no final decision was made with regard to any areas in the meeting.
The Russia-Bangladesh Commission meeting usually discusses various subjects from broad angles, they said, adding that the matters are then discussed in bilateral meetings and final decisions are made following those discussions.
Moreover, Bangladesh has taken a cautious stance in making any final decisions with regard to trade and investment with Russia at this moment amid international sanctions imposed on Russia, the officials added.
Apart from the ERD, officials from the Finance Division, the Ministry of Commerce, the Power Division, the Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources, Petrobangla, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, the ICT Division, the Bangladesh Bank, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry Fisheries and Livestock also participated in the commission meeting.