Financially ‘constrained’ ADB may cut lending to India: Chidambaram

Greater Noida, May 4 (IANS) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) lending is expected to decline by around 20 percent in the coming years, hitting the financial support to countries like India, as the multilateral agency is financial constrained, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said Saturday.

Addressing the inaugural session of the 46th annual meeting of the ADB board of governors, Chidambaram said “sustainable level of lending” by ADB was expected to decline, from $10.1 billion to $8.0 billion.

“Thus, the support that ADB can deliver for economic development and poverty reduction in the region will be seriously constrained by the lack of adequate capital. We may hit the wall in about three years,” said Chidambaram, who is chairing the ADB board of governorsÂ’ meet.

He said the prevailing low interest environment had resulted in low investment income and limited the amount that can be ploughed back into equity for the ADB.

“The financial position of ADB is sound at the moment but is constrained. The prevailing low interest environment has resulted in low investment income and has limited the amount that can be ploughed back into equity for the Bank. I am afraid this low interest environment will continue for some more time,” he said.

Chidambaram urged the member countries to increase their support to the multilateral agency.

“Fellow Governors, I call upon you to consider ways and means to increase ADB’s resources to meet Asia’s needs for infrastructure, economic growth and poverty reduction,” he said.

Chidambaram pointed out that an estimated $8-10 trillion investment was required in physical infrastructure in Asia over the next decade.

In India, the estimated investment in infrastructure during the 12th five year plan (2012-17) period is nearly $1 trillion. Half of it is expected to come from private sector.

“Given the humongous sum of money that is required, government outlays for infrastructure need to be augmented by the private sector.

“ADB has its work cut out. It must continue to allocate a major portion of its sovereign lending for infrastructure development,” Chidambaram said.

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