BD seeks $1.0b from AIIB for six projects

Dhaka,  Thu,  24 August 2017
Published : 15 Jun 2017, 00:50:02

BD seeks $1.0b from AIIB for six projects

FHM Humayan Kabir

Bangladesh has sought extended financial support from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for its six projects costing more than US$1.0 billion, officials said Wednesday.

A two-member Bangladesh delegation, headed by Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam, will participate at the 2nd annual meeting of the AIIB, to be held in Jeju Island of South Korea on June 16-18.

"We will participate in the annual meeting of the AIIB. On the sideline of the meeting, we will also meet its Vice President and some other executives. We will request them to expedite its financial support to Bangladesh," the ERD Secretary told the FE.

Kazi Shofiqul Azam said Bangladesh had already sent the list of six projects mostly from the power sector for getting more than $1.0 billion financial support from the AIIB.

"We are waiting for approval of the Bank's board to receive the loan support," Mr Azam added.

According to officials, the six projects are mostly from the Power Division while one is from the Bridges Division.

Meanwhile, the AIIB approved two loans for two projects in Bangladesh in June last year and in March this year.

On June 24 last year, the bank approved the first loan of $165 million for the Distribution System Upgrade and Expansion Project.

The loan is being utilised by the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) and the Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO) for upgrading their distribution systems.

The second loan worth $60 million is for Bangladesh's Natural Gas Infrastructure and Efficiency Improvement Project.

The state-owned Bangladesh Gas Fields Company Limited (BGFCL) and the Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL) will develop the gas supply system with the loan.       Bangladesh joined the AIIB from its inception in 2016. The number of its current members is 57. Another 13 are expected to join the bank soon.

The ERD Secretary said the AIIB is a new option for Bangladesh to receive more external financial support for development of the country's infrastructure and cut hunger.

Usually, the AIIB provides the LIBOR (London Based Inter Bank Offered Rate)-based loan for its member-countries with maturity of 25 years.

Currently, the World Bank is the largest multilateral lender, followed by the Asian Development Bank while Japan is the biggest bilateral donor for Bangladesh.
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