Published:  01:01 AM, 04 January 2020

A conversation with Xiao Zhiming

A conversation with Xiao Zhiming

Bangladesh is one of the fastest developing countries in the world. To achieve social and economic goals by 2021, improvement in the infrastructural sector, especially in the transportation is important. The Government is taking numerous projects one by one to ensure easy, safe and fast transportation system across the country. For reducing traffic congestion and ensuring speedy communication in the capital, the upgrade of Dhaka Bypass under a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement was signed under the Ministry of Roads and Bridges, & Chinese Consortium Sichuan Road and Bridge Group (SRBG), Shamim Enterprise Ltd and UDC Construction Limited last year.

On Thursday, 26th December, a project commencement ceremony was held in Dhaka with the participation of senior officials and dignitaries from various sectors. 'Dhaka Bypass expressway is the first 48-kilometer fully enclosed expressway in Bangladesh that connects the national Highway-1,2,3 & 4. The design of this project is already done by SRBG, under the Government of Bangladesh Public Program. And the financing process will be done in collaboration with One China Bank and BIFFL, which is still in negotiation.

Dhaka Bypass will play a significant role in the development of the present government. The country will be moving faster.' said the CEO of Public-Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) Muhammad Alkama Siddiqui. In an interview with the chief executive officer (CEO) of Dhaka Bypass Expressway Development Company and director of Sichuan Road and Bridge Group (SRBG) Corp Limited, Xiao Zhiming, spoke about the development of road networks of Dhaka city.

Interview by Iffat Ara Munia

Q: Does Sichuan Road & Bridge Group Corporation Limited usually work under PPP rules?

A: SRBG is very famous in road and bridge construction in China. We have done investments in terms of many expressways in China. Although this is the first time we are working under PPP. We also do joint ventures when total investment is more than one hundred billion.

Q: Did your company engage in other joint projects before? Mention a few of them.

A: SRBG works as the backbone of promoting traffic development and model of implementing "go global" strategy among provincial enterprises, with market spreading throughout the majority of provinces in China, as well as Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe, and other overseas countries and regions. All the expressway has been open for traffic. Now we are constructing more and more expressway.

Q: What were the primary reasons behind getting involved in the Dhaka Bypass Expressway project?

A: SRBG wants to get involved in the development of Bangladesh. There are a few reasons, first of all, in 2016 Chairman Xi Jinping made a successful visit to Bangladesh. He reached some agreement with the Prime minister (Sheikh Hasina). The relation between Bangladesh and China has been elevated to a strategic partnership afterward. Secondly, we have been focusing on the rapid development of Bangladesh. The economic grows speed, GDP growth speed is more than 7% in Bangladesh. Since SRBG is an international company we are not accruing the belt and road initiative as well as the construction of Bangladesh.

Q: What are the Specialties of Sichuan Road & Bridge Group Corporation Limited in the construction sector?

A: SRBG is not just a traditional investment company. It is a comprehensive company involved in investment and other fields as well. We are not only investing in expressways, we also do investments in terms of hydropower, mineral resources.

Q: What is the approximate time & cost of completing the project?

A: The total construction period will last 38 months. The project will be completed in (2022) with an investment of this project 412 Million USD.

Q: Are your methods environmentally friendly and sustainable?

A: Starting from the design work of the project we are focusing on environmental protection. Before the design work, we have been done the environmental analysis report and as well as other related reports. During our design and construction period, we will focus on the environment. We will construct the Dhaka bypass road together with efficiency, quality, safety as well as other good strength.  

Q: What you think about the investment condition of Bangladesh?

A: We are very confident in the investment environment of this country.

Q: Do you have plans to engage Sichuan Road & Bridge Group Corporation Limited in more projects in Bangladesh in the future?

A: SRBG has been focusing on the infrastructure market in Bangladesh. We want to get ourselves involved in those projects as well. We will focus on the other fields in terms of bridges, road construction, civil engineering as well as energy.

Q: What you think about the current traffic congestion of Dhaka city?

A: Dhaka city should learn some experiences from Chinese cities. China has built a lot of ring roads, Dhaka should follow. So that the transportation network will be more convenient and people will get more easy access.    

Q: What is the uniqueness of Dhaka Bypass expressway?

A: The main point of this Dhaka Bypass expressway is like it will connect a lot of national highways in Bangladesh. People will get easy access to get under roads and it will also connect north to south.

Q: What is the largest challenge to implement this project according to your understandings?

A: The largest challenge for us is, the rights of the road is very limited in Bangladesh. We have to build a fully enclosed expressway with such a limited right of road.

Q: Do you think it is possible to complete this project on time?

A: We have adopted certain measures to complete the work in time. We are very confident about that. We assure you that we can complete the work on time because the construction period is inlaying with the contract period.

Q: What is your message to the people of Bangladesh as a representative of a friendly country?  

A: Dhaka Bypass is the first fully enclosed expressway in Dhaka city. It is also the first PPP project done by Chinese enterprises. From the perspective of SRBG, we would like to make this project into a flagship project. We are very confident about investing in Bangladesh as it has become an investment-friendly country in South-Asia. We are looking to construct bridges and invest in mineral resources projects in the country.

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