Bangladesh seeks $1b from AIIB
Bangladesh has sought $1 billion from the newly formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for various projects in roads, railway and power sectors.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith discussed the projects with the visiting AIIB Vice President DJ Pandian in a meeting yesterday.
Pandian came to Bangladesh on Wednesday leading a three-member team. Muhith said Bangladesh has already got AIIB loans in two projects, which are ongoing now.
The bank had earlier given loans only in the power sector and now Bangladesh has sought loans for various sectors, mostly infrastructure, the minister said.
He said they have sent a list of seven more projects for financing to the bank.
The projects include a coal-based power plant at Gazaria in Munshiganj, upgradation of power systems in the west zone, expansion and strengthening of power systems in Chittagong and construction of a bridge in Barisal.
The remaining three are for procurement of railway locomotives and luggage van. AIIB earlier approved a loan of $165 million for a power distribution system upgrade and expansion in Bangladesh.
Another project of $65 million was for natural gas infrastructure efficiency improvement -- the first loan for the country from the China-led development bank.
AIIB, a new global multilateral financial institution, was formally established in December 2015.
Although Washington opposed it, US allies including Britain, Germany and South Korea are among AIIB's 57 members. The bank expects to lend $10-15 billion a year in its first five or six years.
Finance ministry officials said it was the first time a high official of AIIB came to Bangladesh. Pandian came to see for himself in what projects Bangladesh needs loans and which are viable.
After yesterday's meeting, Pandian told journalists that there would be no paucity of money; if they got good projects they would finance.
Pandian is one of AIIB's five vice presidents. He is also the chief investment officer with the primary responsibility of leading the planning and supervision of the bank's infrastructure investment.
He is responsible for promoting sustainable investment throughout Asia which was consistent with the bank's vision, goals, and strategies and for ensuring the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of AIIB operations.
Pandian has had an extensive career of 30 years with the Indian administrative services.