The first meeting of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held in the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings on 19th April, 2018 in Washington D.C. Ministry of Finance, Government of India was represented in the meeting by Shri Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (EA).
The main issues that the meeting discussed were related to enhancing the project pipelines of New Development Bank (NDB) evenly across member countries, expansion of NDB’s membership, the proposal of the South African Presidency for setting up a working group on illicit financial flows and a BRICS Task Force on Public Private Partnership. Issues related to BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) as well as BRICS Bond Fund were also discussed.
Shri Garg , Secretary (EA) in his interventions emphasised that India has been a constructive participant to the discussions on NDB’s membership expansion. He expressed that a more careful and cautious approach on the value and addition/ benefits new member will bring to the Bank would be desirable rather than setting deadlines which are practically difficult to achieve. On the issue of expansion of NDB’s project pipeline across member nations evenly, Shri Garg was of the view that the objective has to be balanced with member country’s requirement for infrastructure financing. On the proposal for setting up the Working Group on Illicit Financial Flows and BRICS PPP Task Force, Secretary (EA) expressed India’s appreciation on the proposal. However, he suggested that NDB already has a Project Preparation Fund hence a separate similar preparation fund for PPP will not be desirable. This Project Preparation Fund also will be able to serve projects preparation of PPP projects as well.
In view of the India’s experience to develop brownfield infrastructure projects as asset class, Shri Garg Secretary (EA) suggested that the BRICS may consider this more readily available infrastructure asset class for getting finances from pension funds, sovereign wealth funds etc. as sources of financing. He also sought the support of the Presidency in building consensus amongst the BRICS membership on the BRICS Rating Agency proposal. He requested the Presidency to receive and take forward the Report to be submitted by Expert Group set up under the aegis of BRICS Business Council to study the feasibility of the BRICS Rating Agency.