Wed, May 20, 2015 - Page 15 News List

Japan to fund Asian infrastructure: Jiji

LENDING INCREASE:A report said that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to announce US$100 billion in funding for infrastructure, as much as China’s AIIB


Japan is to announce US$100 billion in new funding for Asian infrastructure, the same size as the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Jiji Press reported.

The money is to be invested over five years and include yen loans, funding through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and private investment, the Japanese news agency said, without citing anyone.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to give details tomorrow, according to the report.

Japan’s plan comes as representatives of 57 nations meet in Singapore later this week to thrash out details of how the AIIB is to operate. Japan and the US have not said they would join the new China-led institution, with Japan expressing concern over its governance.

The Japan-led Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently said it would boost its annual lending and grant approvals by 50 percent to as much as US$20 billion. The plan to be announced by Abe tomorrow also includes strengthened lending through the ADB, Jiji reported.

The Jiji report did not say how much of the funding would be new, or how it compared to previous investment levels.

Meanwhile, the new China-led AIIB is considering giving senior staff more power over loan approval than at existing multilateral lenders to speed up the decisionmaking process, officials familiar with the talks said.

Under proposals to be discussed this week in Singapore, the board of directors, which represents member countries, would not sit at the lender’s headquarters. The threshold and conditions to delegate loan decisions to management have not yet been agreed, according to the officials from founder-member countries, who asked not to be named as the talks are not public.

China, which lined up the support of 56 nations for the US$100 billion bank, wants to set it apart from institutions such as the World Bank, which borrowers have criticized for having too many conditions and authorization layers.

“In the past there’s been a lot of complaints that the multilateral institutions — the board — can be heavy handed in the operations, so there will be room for improvement,” Justin Lin Yifu (林毅夫), a former chief economist at the World Bank, said in an interview on Monday in Singapore. “But at the same time, I think that to have some kind of supervision from the board would be desirable.”

The Beijing-based AIIB, which is recruiting Chinese and international staff, would be unusual in forgoing an on-site executive board, marking out a contrast with institutions such as the ADB or the African Development Bank.

Decisions could be made more quickly and efficiently without a board physically present, said Lin, who is now a director of the China Center for Economic Research at Peking University.

Chief negotiators are to meet in Singapore from today to Friday to discuss draft articles of agreement and the bank’s operational policies, the Singaporean Ministry of Finance said in a statement yesterday.

The meeting is to be chaired by Chinese Vice Minister of Finance Shi Yaobin (史耀斌) and Singaporean Ministry of Finance Deputy Secretary of Policy Yee Ping Yi, it said.

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