DHAKA: Bangladesh has approached AIIB, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, for a loan of $1 bn for seven infrastructure projects. Finance Minister AMA Muhith made the proposal to AIIB Vice-President DJ Pandian at the secretariat on Thursday. “The bank will analyse our proposals,” the minister told reporters after the meeting. Two projects, ‘Distribution System Upgrade and Expansion’ and ‘Natural Gas Infrastructure Efficiency Improvement’, were under process with funds from the AIIB, Muhith said. Three of the proposed projects are for buying railways, while one is a coal-based power plant. The remaining three are ‘Upgradation of Power Distribution System in West Zone’, ‘Expansion and Strengthening Power System in Chittagong Area’ and ‘Construction of a Bridge in Barisal Dumki Road,’ according to Muhith.
“Bangladesh is important to AIIB,” DJ Pandian said, citing Bangladesh’s upward growth throughout the last decade. When asked if approaching AIIB was part of Bangladesh’s diplomatic strategy, Muhith said: “Yes, this century is centered on Asia. Asia lacks infrastructure but has ample scope and resources.” On the other hand, America was developed but consumerism-centric, he added. “Savings are a culture in Asia so it is beneficial to make investments here.” The minister, who is scheduled to fly to China on an official visit this month, said the proposal made to AIIB had nothing to do with bilateral deals with China.