Asia infrastructure needs exceed $1.7t/year

 HONG KONG (AFP): Infrastructure needs in developing Asia and the Pacific will exceed $22.6 trillion through 2030, or $1.5 trillion per year, if the region is to maintain growth momentum, according to a new flagship report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The estimates rise to over $26 trillion, or $1.7 trillion per year, when climate change mitigation and adaptation costs are incorporated. The report, Meeting Asia’s Infrastructure Needs, focuses on the region’s power, transport, telecommunications, and water and sanitation infrastructure. It comprehensively examines current infrastructure stocks and investments, future investment needs, and financing mechanisms for developing Asia. “The demand for infrastructure across Asia and the Pacific far outstrips current supply,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao. “Asia needs new and upgraded infrastructure that will set the standard for quality, encourage economic growth, and respond to the pressing global challenge that is climate change.”

Infrastructure development in the 45 countries covered in the report has grown dramatically in recent decades — spurring growth, reducing poverty, and improving people’s lives. But a substantial infrastructure gap remains, with over 400 million people still lacking electricity, 300 million without access to safe drinking water, and about 1.5 billion lacking access to basic sanitation. Many economies in the region lack adequate ports, railways, and roads that could connect them efficiently to larger domestic and global markets.

 Public hearing on Cos Bill 2017 tomorrow

 KARACHI: (NNI): Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue has decided to hold a public hearing on the Companies Bill 2017 on Monday at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI). Senate Standing Committee on Finance Chairman Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said, “The business community has shown its reservations over the Companies Bill 2017. That’s why the Senate committee has decided to listen to their point of view so that these reservations could be removed.” Mandviwalla further said, “All stakeholders are invited to the hearing to present their case on the bill. A committee will present is its recommendations after the consultations.” He said, “We are trying to seek proposals, suggestions and recommendations from all the sectors. Objective of the hearing is to consult all the stake holders and business community and build a consensus on the Companies Bill 2017.” “It is the first ever public hearing in the history of Senate, it is open to all, everyone can come and present his proposals on the bill,” Mandviwalla said.

 ADB okays use of POWERGRID Safeguard System for projects

NEW DELHI(AFP): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved the use of Power Grid Corporation of India’s (POWERGRID) safeguard system as the benchmark for planning and implementing safeguards in ADB-financed projects.   The approval is based on ADB’s assessment that POWERGRID’s Environment and Social Policy and Procedures (ESPP) are well aligned with the objectives and principles of ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement (SPS). It is the first time that ADB has approved the use of a borrower’s safeguard system in lieu of the SPS. ADB also found that POWERGRID has sufficient capacity and track record to achieve the same safeguard standards as ADB’s SPS. POWERGRID has agreed to carry out an action plan to address minor gaps between the ESPP and the SPS. This approval allows POWERGRID to use its ESPP for forthcoming ADB-financed projects. First application of ESPP will be for a planned solar transmission project.

“POWERGRID’s environment and social safeguard system has been recognized to match international good practice,” said Nessim J. Ahmad, Deputy Director General of ADB’s Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department. “The use of such safeguard systems in ADB projects is expected to build ownership, enhance capacity, and reduce transactions costs for borrowers.”

As laid out in the ADB Safeguards Policy, country safeguard systems constitute a country’s legal and institutional framework on environment and social safeguards. Use of country safeguard systems can be at national, subnational, sector, or agency level. The SPS supports the use of the borrower’s own system subject to assessment of policy equivalence and satisfactory capacity and track record of the agency.

ADB has been transacting with POWERGRID since 1995, providing eight government-guraranteed loans to India’s national power grid operator totaling $2.52 billion, and two nonsovereign loans totaling $750 million.

 EBRD provides $125m loan to Emirates NBD Egypt

London (AFP): The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a subordinated loan of up to US$ 125 million to Emirates NBD Egypt to strengthen the bank’s capital base. The subordinated loan qualifies as tier II capital under the recently modified regulations of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). It is the first time under these new regulations that a third party lender provides such an instrument to an Egyptian bank. Emirates NBD Egypt is a private sector bank in Egypt and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD PJSC, the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a leading regional player. The EBRD financing package consists of two tranches, the first being a US$ 50 million committed loan to strengthen the capital structure of Emirates NBD Egypt and support its growth strategy of becoming a leading private sector bank in Egypt. The second tranche is uncommitted and amounts to US$ 75 million.

Philip ter Woort, the departing EBRD Director for Egypt, said: “Allowing third party debt to this asset class could become an important additional tool for banks to manage their capital ratios and was developed in less than one year through a strong cooperation between CBE, Emirates NBD and the EBRD. Through this loan we are very pleased to support Emirates NBD Egypt’s ambitious growth plans which can bring many benefits to the country, including for the SME sector.”

Giel-Jan M. Van Der Tol, CEO and Board Member of Emirates NBD Egypt, said: “We are proud to be the first bank in Egypt to apply this innovative transaction structure to enhance our capital base. This will allow us to further grow our business in Egypt as well as continue to support the development of the real economy.”

Strengthening the capital base of Emirates NBD Egypt will boost its outreach to the Egyptian economy. This will support the country’s resilience as one of the EBRD’s six transition qualities defining the Bank’s work. According to the EBRD, a well-functioning market economy should be competitive, inclusive, well-governed, green, resilient and integrated.

The EBRD has invested over €2.3 billion in Egypt through 43 projects since the start of its activities in the country at the end of 2012. The Bank’s areas of investment include the financial sector, agribusiness, manufacturing and services, as well as infrastructure projects such as power, municipal water and wastewater services and support to transport services.

Emirates NBD Egypt is a fully-owned subsidiary of the Emirates NBD Group, the leading bank in the United Arab Emirates. Emirates NBD entered the Egyptian market in 2013 through the purchase of BNP Paribas’ Egyptian operations. Following significant growth, it now has over 2,200 staff, 65 branches and 230 ATMs, and is the largest subsidiary of the Emirates NBD Group outside its home country. Emirates NBD Egypt now aims to become one of the nation’s leading private sector banks by 2020, underpinned by continued gains in banking innovation, digitisation and service quality.