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PHL, ADB ink MoU for 2019-2021 lending

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Asian Development Bank (ADB)

THE GOVERNMENT and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on June 29 for the regional lender’s $7.1-billion sovereign lending program to the Philippines for 2019–2021.

In a statement yesterday, ADB said the lending program will particularly support the current administration’s infrastructure program, with two-thirds of the financing pipeline — about $4.5 billion — going to projects that “connect regions and communities and manage urbanization, such as railways, bridges, roads and flood management.”

“ADB is committed to working closely and collaboratively with the government of the Philippines to ensure that we deliver on our pipeline of projects,” Kelly Bird, ADB’s country director for the Philippines, said after the signing ceremony.

This follows the meeting among the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Finance and the ADB last month where the latter presented the borrowing program.

About $945 million is allocated this year, consisting of two policy-based loans worth $600 million, a $300 million results-based loan and $45 million in project loans.

“I am very happy about this program,” ADB’s statement quoted Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in his remarks during the ceremony.

“ADB has been very cooperative and helpful in our objectives to sustain our economic growth and achieve inclusive development. This will help bring us closer to our longer-term vision of a prosperous, middle-income country where no one is poor by 2040.”

It also quoted Finance Assistant Secretary Maria Edita Z. Tan as saying in the same event that “ADB has been a very responsive partner.”

“When we asked them to consider co-financing some of the large infrastructure projects under the BBB (Build, Build, Build) program,” she recalled. “ADB immediately stepped up to the challenge.”

The government plans to spend over P8 trillion on infrastructure until 2022, when President Rodrigo R. Duterte ends his six-year term, in a bid to speed up economic growth to 7-8% annually until 2022 from 6.3% in 2010-2016 as well as slash unemployment rate to 3-5% in the last year of this government from 5.5% in 2016 and poverty incidence to 14% from 21.6% in 2016.— EJCT