Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Professor Atiur Rahman, former Governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB), has empathized on smooth implementation of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) to boost trade and economic activities among the members countries.
Dr. Rahman has also highlighted on the need for mobilization of finance, both from traditional and new sources, encouraging greater number of public-private- partnership initiatives, harmonization of the standards and practices, preparation of protocols and strengthening of institutions to enhance trade facilitation for implementation of the Agreement.
“This particular Agreement if implemented with right earnest will yield huge prosperity for all the people of the region,” the former BB governor said while addressing at the launch meeting of the project titled Bangladesh-Bhutan-India Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement Facilitating implementation and buy-in in BBIN sub-region, held in Kolkata on Thursday.
The senior economist also cautioned about the challenges like security concerns, coordination of in-country stakeholders, alignment with national policy, land acquisition problems and use of state of the art ICT in tracking of vehicles and online customs clearance.
“All this need necessary preparations and policy engagements during the early phase of implementation of the Agreement,” he noted.
He also asked for greater engagement of the civil society including private sector actors in facilitating better implementation of the Agreement.
Dr. Rahman also reminded about the dramatic fall of the cost of doing business in the region if this Agreement gets going.
He also indicated how four think-tanks of the region under the leadership of CUTS International will work closely with the relevant government agencies, private sector stakeholders and the final beneficiaries of the people who will share the prosperity once there is seamless road-connectivity in the region.
The inaugural session was moderated by Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International and participated by local Consul General of the US Mr. Craig Hall and senior government officials from the region, according to a message.
Dr. Rahman also chaired a session on the possible political economic hurdles that may come up while implementing the Agreement.
He also urged all stakeholders to remain engaged and take the momentum forward.
The BBIN MVA was signed in the BBIN Transport Ministers Meeting on 15 June 2015 in Thimphu, Bhutan.
The agreement has identified 14 routes for regular and non-regular passenger vehicles between the countries.
Of these 5 are between India and Bangladesh, 2 between Bangladesh, India and Nepal, 2 between Bangladesh, India and Bhutan, 1 between India and Nepal, 3 between India and Bhutan, and 1 between Nepal and Bhutan.
For cargo vehicles 15 routes have been designated, of which 5 are in Bangladesh, 4 in Bhutan, 1 in India, 5 in Nepal.
The agreement has identified 30 priority road construction projects and of these 7 are in Bangladesh. Of these 7 projects, 3 involve new road constructions and the other 4 involve four laning of existing roads/highways.
“The need to accelerate cross-border transport facilitation to deepen and enhance regional integration has been officially recognized through this agreement,” Dr. Rahman explained.
He also said the governments have agreed that the finalization of the BBIN MVA would allow moving forward, in an accelerated fashion, with implementation of land transport facilitation arrangements between and among these countries.
“This, in turn, would enable the exchange of traffic rights and ease cross-border movement of goods, vehicles and people, thereby helping expansion of the people-to-people contact, trade, and economic exchanges among the countries,” the former governor noted.