Dhaka, Bangladesh
AIIB to implement policies ‘brilliantly’

AIIB to implement policies ‘brilliantly’

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) must process projects proposed to it “expeditiously” and disburse loans in an “efficient” way, its President-designate says, reports bdnews24.com. “We’ll not just make policies look beautiful on paper. We’ll implement them brilliantly on the ground,” Jin Liqun said on Sunday in Dhaka at the inauguration of the Bangladesh Development Forum 2015. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the two-day gathering of donors and development partners where Bangladesh, now less aid dependent, will present its annual funding needs, highlighting infrastructure requirements. Bangladesh invests two to three percent of its GDP in the infrastructure sector. But it needs to invest 10 percent of GDP, which is about $15 billion a year. As a founding member of the new multilateral donors, AIIB is being seen as a Chinese-owned version of World Bank. Bangladesh pins hopes on its support in large infrastructure projects. So far, 54 countries have signed the charter of the Bank. The President-designate, who came to Dhaka first within months of his assignment, promised the prime minister earlieron Saturday that they would support Bangladesh’s infrastructure project before any other country’s. He lauded Bangladesh’s sustained economic growth and said “this is a huge credit to the leadership of the government and also to the great people”. He said AIIB would support sustainable development in Bangladesh, “an important” member of this multilateral donor. “Our mandate is to promote broad-base economic and social development in Asia”. He said the Bank must process projects proposed to them “expeditiously”. “..…and disbursement of loans will be made efficiently, thereby providing practical support to the proven infrastructural financing gap in Asia”. They will not work on conventional ways of poverty reduction, he said, but rather follow the Chinese example, in which infrastructure development has contributed to poverty reduction. ‘Zero tolerance’ to corruption would be one of their key policies, he said, adding that they would not “even ignore the lessons learnt in the past seven decades of international experiences”. “AIIB will do different things and do them differently”, he said. “Also, we’ll try our best to keep costs low to maximize benefit to our clients”. The Asian Development Bank, whose Vice-President Wencai Zhang spoke at the inauguration, also promised to continue support in infrastructure-building. Zhang commended Bangladesh’s “remarkable achievements” in the past and promised to contribute to significant future projects. Deputy Director General of Japan’s foreign ministry Kingo Toyoda, who also spoke at the inauguration, said Tokyo would continue its support to Bangladesh under the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B) initiative. The initiative, which is to accelerate industrial agglomeration along the Dhaka-Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar belt area and beyond, was launched last year when the Japanese Prime Minister visited Bangladesh. Japan promised around $5 billion grants under the initiative. Toyoda called upon the government of Bangladesh, development partners, and civil society “to unite efforts to help Bangladesh achieve its goal of enabling all its citizens to enjoy living standards of a middle-income country by 2021”. USAID Mission Director Janina Jaruzelski, co-chair of the Local Consultative Group (LCG), said they would remain “a very strong partner” of Bangladesh’s development with a focus on “inclusive growth leaving no one behind”. The LCG is a forum for development dialogue and donor coordination in Bangladesh. The other co-chair Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary of the Economic Relations Division, believed that this two-day Development Forum would serve as a “springboard” for Bangladesh’s future development. This gathering, the first since 2009, is also being organised after the adoption of new development agenda—SDGs. The SDGs have 17 ambitious goals with 169 targets aimed at resolving social, economic and environmental problems that will require both innovations and money to implement.

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