BRICS bank will look to expand membership: Kamath

Ufa (Russia), July 10 (IANS) Clarifying that its mandate allows assistance only to member countries, the New Development Bank’s (NDB) first president K.V. Kamath on Friday said the bank will look at expanding its membership in the coming months.

“We will primarily lend to member countries. In due course, we will look at opening membership, in the next few months,” Kamath, who was here for the just concluded BRICS summit attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the presidents of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, told reporters.

“We will talk to the board of governors to expand in due course,” he said.

Kamath had told Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency on Thursday that the NDB had to not only meet the aspirations of the current member-countries, but also prepare for accomodating new members joining in future.

“We realize we will need to work with other partners, to meet aspirations in terms of loans and other assistance for not only our BRICS member-countries as of now, but an increased number of members as it happens, so that will be laid out in our policy as we go along,” he said.

Responding to a question on Friday on whether the NDB could consider helping Greece in its present financial turmoil, Kamath said: “I have no mandate to help any non-member. Beyond BRICS, I have no mandate.”

He also said that the NDB will also look to lend in local currency in order to protect the BRICS countries from currency fluctuations and volatility and “it is critical that we do it”.

“In developing countries, particularly BRICS, there are pools of capital which can be tapped and lent. Local currency financing is what we will look at in addition to hard currency finance. We will look at all pools of capital in addition to hard currency,” he said.

The five BRICS countries represent almost three billion people, or approximately 40 percent of the world population and have a combined GDP of $16.039 trillion, or 20 percent of the gross world product.



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