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municipal corporations: SEBI urges municipal corporations to enhance transparency for urban infrastructure bonds

Sebi chairperson Madhabi Puri Buch on Wednesday asked municipal corporations to display higher levels of transparency by creating digital escrow accounts to ring-fence certain cash flows and obtain credit ratings to burnish the allure of their bonds, adding that investor appetite for quality securities remains strong.

Speaking at an event on Leveraging Private Finance for Urban Infrastructure-Learnings from G20 Infrastructure Working Group in the capital, Buch also called on these bodies to explore obtaining credit enhancement, if required.

There are enough investors who are interested in putting money into securities issued by such bodies if they adopt greater transparency, she indicated. “A combination of escrow (account structure) and credit enhancement can attract a large number of investors in urban infrastructure.

In the Budget for FY24, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the Centre will incentivise reforms in urban local bodies to make them creditworthy for municipal bonds.

In recent years, bonds of certain municipal corporations have generated good investor interest.

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