Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry has moved a proposal to develop an exclusive tourism resort and entertainment village in Cox’s Bazar under public private partnership (PPP) with Singapore-based Inter-Asia Group Pte Ltd.
Official sources said the Ministry’s move is based on an unsolicited offer of the Singaporean private company which wants to build a 5-star hotel, a 3-star hotel, beach village, pool village and water village, a world class 18-hole golf course, and also a club house.
The whole project will be implemented on a huge area of 186 acres of land of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation which now runs the existing Shaibal Hotel and a golf course.
However, it was not mentioned anywhere in the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry’s proposal as to how much investment will be required for this largest tourism project in the country. Even, it is not clear as to how much money the Singaporean company wants to invest in the project.
The Inter-Asia Group in its proposal only mentioned that “the project will generate 1,000 new direct employments and indirectly support 5,000 Bangladeshis and also bring US$ 1.6 billion revenue through tourism sector which will increase by 15 percent each year.
The Singaporean business group will operate the project for next 30 years. It’s not clear, which local private company represent the interest of the Group in Bangladesh.
When the Tourism Ministry forwarded the Inter-Asia’s offer to the Public Private Partnership Office (PPP Office), a wing of the Prime Minister’s office, for clearance, the PPP Office suggested the ministry to place it before the Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee meeting it being an unsolicited one.
Officials at the PPP Office said normally, any such PPP project is supposed to be implemented through a tender process in which the relevant government agency would select its private partner through competitive bidding process.
”But, since the Tourism Ministry’s move is to implement the project without following a tender process, as per law, we’ve suggested them to place it to the Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee,” said a senior official at the PPP Office preferring anonymity as he is not authorized to speak on the issue.
In the proposal, the Civil Aviation & Tourism secretary Khorshed Alam mentioned that the project will have a far reaching impact on the development of the country’s tourism sector if it is implemented under the PPP concept.
He said it will play a significant role in attracting foreign tourists in Bangladesh, which will eventually boost the revenue earning through foreign currency. “The project will play a role to generate local employments as well,” he added.
Earlier, on February 28 this year, the Cabinet Economic Affair Committee in principle approved a Tourism Ministry proposal to implement a project under the PPP, titled ‘Establishment of 5-Star Standard Beach Hotel along with 18-hole golf course at Cox’s Bazar’.
But after its approval, no tender was floated by the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation to implement the project under the PPP.
But now the Tourism Ministry says the “unsolicited offer” of the Inter-Asia Group is better as it includes various other services in its project.