Satellite project attracts 6 firms to bid

Six multinational banks and firms have expressed their interest in financing the launch of Bangladesh’s first satellite, Bangabandhu 1, reports Dhaka Tribune. It said the Finance Division and Economic Relation Division (ERD) were scrutinising offers from Export-Import Bank of the US, HSBC France, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, UK-based CWG Gulf International, and China Great Wall Industry Corporation.

satelliteThe Finance Division and ERD have sought a business plan and cash flow chart for the project from the ministry. The government has already spent BDT 860 million on paying foreign consultants’ fees for the project, even before starting the main work. Posts and Telecommunications Secretary Abu Bakar Siddique said it is now up to the Finance Division and ERD, as all the documents, including the business plan and the cash flow chart, have been submitted to them.

The committee concerned will select the foreign firms for the satellite project in a way that does not burden the country financially. Siddique said the duration of the pilot project for the satellite launch had been extended for another year from June 2015 to June 2016. Meanwhile, the ministry has sent the pro forma development project to the planning ministry for final approval by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec).

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) sent the project to the telecom ministry last month. The total cost of the project will be BDT 32 billion, of which BDT 15.56 billion will come from the BTRC and the rest from foreign sources. The BTRC has already prepared the necessary documents to finalise the tender process for manufacturing the satellite. International tenders for the launch vehicle, ground control station and insurance will be floated in phases.

US-based Space Partnership International is the consulting agency for the satellite project. The BTRC inked an agreement with SPI on March 29 2012. Bangladesh has already bought the 119 East orbital slot for Bangabandhu 1 satellite from Sputnik for USD 28 million. Applications for three more slots have been lodged with the International Telecom Union (ITU). The government expects to recover the project cost in five years.