South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Fund (SDF) conducted the sixth Governing Council gathering on the sidelines of their Informal Meeting of Finance Minister and Annual Meeting of Asian Development Bank.
According to SDF Secretariat officials, eight SAARC member states Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka, took part in the meeting held during this week at Nadi.
During this meeting, the member state,s who are also the Governing Council members, approved multiple important issues pertaining to the future strategies and action plan of the SDF.
Additionally, SDF CEO Dr Sunil Motiwal presented a report on the status and its future action plan including operationalisation of economic and infrastructure windows of SDF. The Minutes of Board Meetings and Audited Financial Statements were adopted by the Governing Council, and a new external auditor was also approved.
Dr Motiwal stated that he informed the council about five projects approved by SDF Board of Directors.
“Few bankable projects are under various stages of discussion. The Social Window of SDF is in a continuous process of identifying regional cross border projects based on the need of the Member States from time to time”.
Furthermore, Project Financing Agreements (PFAs) were signed with 67 implementing agencies for 12 different projects across member states. Five of these projects have now been completed.
Dr Motiwal went on to state that the immediate focus area for them is to strengthen the economic and infrastructure window and build up the credit portfolio through the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) programme.
He noted that fund mobilisation under the social, economic and infrastructure windows, introduction of grants plus loans combination for Social Window, and availing line of credit and grants from the various Multilateral Development Banks are underway.
SDF allocated USD 148 million for the three funding windows and allocated USD 50 million for funding of Micro, Small Medium Enterprises. As of now, SDF has disbursed USD 48 million.