Muhith seeks AIIB funds for big projects

Staff Correspondent

Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith on Sunday sought funds on a priority basis from the newly established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for implementing the mega infrastructure projects.
He also sought funds for the projects from other multilateral lenders attending the two-day meeting of Bangladesh Development Forum that began on the day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
‘We will send project proposals very quickly to the AIIB so that they can examine the proposals just after its first board meeting to be held in January,’ Muhith said at a press briefing at the Economic Relations Division after a having a bilateral meeting with AIIB president  Jin Liqun on the sidelines of the BDF meeting.
At the meeting, he informed the AIIB president about the nine mega infrastructure projects adopted by the government as well as those to be adopted in future.
The projects include Padma Bridge, Metro Rail Transit-6, Sonadia Deep Sea port, Paira Deep Sea Port, LNG terminal, Matarbari power plant, Rampal power plant, Ruppur nuclear power plant and Paira coal-fired power plant.
He said that the AIIB would not consider any projects at the first board meeting as it would take only some policy decisions regarding the operations of the bank.
‘I asked the ERD officials to send project proposals very soon so that the AIIB can examine our projects first,’ he said.
The AIIB will open its office next month and hold first board meeting in January, Jin Liqun informed Muhith.
The AIIB will consider financing the mega projects after taking policy decisions in January, Muhith told reporters.
He also held meetings with the Asian Development Bank vice-president Wencai Zhang and the United Nations Development Programme director for Asia Haoliang Xu.
‘We are expecting to invest US$ 408 billion in infrastructure in future and requested the development partners to increase their financial assistance substantially so that we can get a portion of the total investment from external sources ,’ he said.
Though the size of the country’s budget has been increasing over the years, it is not enough to meet the growing resource requirement, he said.
In reply to a question, Muhith said that the cost for the construction of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant quoted by Rosatom, the Russian state-owned atomic corporation, was much expensive which requires careful examination.
The government is yet to negotiate with them on the cost, he said.
The Rosatom quoted US$ 13.5 billion for the project.
At a separate press briefing at the ADB country office, Wencai Shang declared that they would increase their loans to the country for investment in infrastructure sector.
In next three years, ADB will provide US$ 5 billion to Bangladesh, he said.

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