AIIB plays important role to address infrastructure gap: bank president

Updated 2017-03-03 09:56:46 Xinhua

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun said on Thursday that the China-sponsored bank has an important role to play in teaming up with governments and international organizations to address infrastructure challenges of the countries like Nepal.

Nepal faces infrastructure deficit up to 18 billion U.S. dollars in this decade, having one of the poorest infrastructures in South Asia, according to a World Bank study.

Nepal, a AIIB founding member, is seeking financing from the bank to address this gap.

Addressing the Nepal Investment Summit on Thursday, Jin said that the AIIB was committed to work with Nepalese government and the private sector to make meaningful differences in Nepal's economic and social development through investment in infrastructure and other productive sectors.

According to the Nepalese officials, the AIIB has initiated process for lending to two of the five projects proposed by Nepal -- one on urban infrastructure development and the other related to electricity distribution system improvement.

Jin insisted the ethos of AIIB, saying the bank promotes lean, clean and green governance.

"As a multilateral development bank, a part of our job is to help countries to pick the projects that would help social and economic outcomes without environmental degradation and global warming," he said.

During the summit, Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said "Nepal is prioritizing to create good political environment for investors as well as introduce rules and regulations friendly to local and foreign investors."

Nepalese Industry Minister Nabindra Raj Joshi explained about investment in Nepal saying that the Himalayan country is one of the most open economies in South Asia.

"We allow 100 percent foreign ownership in most of the sectors. Our tax rates are lower than most of the countries in South Asia. The government is receptive to the constructive ideas coming from the investors. The reforms in our system and procedures are on-going," he said.

After introducing Industrial Enterprise Act, Special Economic Zones Act, Nepal is in the final process of introducing new company law. "This is expected to expect to make the exit easier and faster," said Joshi.

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