India open to UAE chairing infra fund

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on February 10, 2016

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund being set up with ₹40,000-cr corpus

India is open to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) chairing the newly constituted National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) that seeks to attract foreign capital to fund the country’s infrastructure development.

“We are open to the UAE being the CEO of NIIF… If the UAE invests in the fund and if they want to have a representative in the governance of the fund. that is permissible under our national investment fund rules,” a top official told BusinessLine on condition of anonymity.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UAE is expected to be signed during the bilateral meeting between the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Thursday. The ₹40,000-crore NIIF will comprise 49 per cent government holding, while the remaining will be from private investors.

Recently, during the India Investment Summit 2016, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das had said the Finance Ministry is in the process of selecting a CEO for NIIF and that the ministry had received as many as 70 applications for the post.

“A number of agreements and MoUs are expected to be signed to expand our cooperation in various sectors … The UAE has been invited to invest in the NIIF,” said Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) here on Wednesday.

Recently, UAE’s Ambassador to India Ahmed AR Albanna had said they are keen to invest in sectors such as nuclear energy, oil and gas, IT, new and renewable energy, railways and aviation.

The UAE controls the world’s second largest sovereign wealth fund that is worth $800 billion through the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

During Modi’s visit there last year in August, the UAE had committed investments of $75 billion from their sovereign wealth funds under ADIA. Later, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had urged ADIA to invest this amount in the NIIF.

The Crown Prince, who is on a two-day visit here, will travel to Mumbai on Friday. He will be accompanied by a 100-member business delegation.

The UAE is the source of 60 per cent of India’s energy needs. It is also India’s third largest trading partner after the US and China with bilateral trade reaching nearly $60 billion in 2014-15.

Published on February 10, 2016

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