ADB to work closely with WB on PHL projects

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Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao attends a news conference in Beijing, China May 28. -- REUTERS

THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) will work closely with the World Bank (WB) in developing projects for the Philippines and other countries in the Asia and Pacific region, responding to a call made by the Department of Finance (DoF) earlier.

“ADB is responding to the Philippine Finance Secretary Mr. Carlos G. Dominguez III’s call for us to become more efficient, responsive, and better coordinated with the World Bank and other multilateral development banks to meet the changing needs of our client countries,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said in a statement late Monday.

“In the Philippines, ADB is already collaborating with the World Bank on the implementation of the government’s conditional cash transfer program and the rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Marawi, among others. We can do better, and will take concrete steps to further improve the process,” he added.

The ADB said Messrs. Nakao and Dominguez have had several discussions on the matter in the past years.

Mr. Dominguez said during the ADB’s 50th Annual Meeting in Yokohama in 2017 that there is a need for ADB to “reinvent itself.” The Finance chief also recently wrote the ADB president a letter asking the ADB to expand its collaboration with the World Bank.

Mr. Nakao said on Monday that the ADB and the World Bank are exploring new joint initiatives to reduce transaction costs for developing member-countries.

“The two institutions are exchanging views on how to work more closely in areas such as programming support, procurement, project implementation review, and social and environmental safeguards,” the ADB said.

In April, the World Bank Group said it has started working on a coordinated country program for the Philippines with the ADB to help eliminate project redundancies.

The DoF said World Bank Group President David Malpass had said he spoke with the ADB chief on how to reduce overhead and facilitate coordinated development efforts. Mr. Malpass said the World Bank and the ADB should form a subgroup that will focus on specific areas of assistance such as infrastructure, avoid redundancy and ensure that these projects are implemented efficiently.

Meanwhile, beyond the Philippines, the ADB said it is already cofinancing several projects in the Pacific with the World Bank under a common procurement arrangement, which alleviates the administrative burden in small island countries.

“In addition, ADB and the World Bank, along with other development partners, are working to develop a shared approach to the management of environmental and social risks that will take into consideration factors such as fragility, community engagement, and land ownership,” the multilateral lender said.

The Philippines has been an ADB member since 1966 and has 2.377% subscribed capital stock and 2.200% voting power. The ADB’s annual lending to Manila has increased to $2.5 billion in 2019–2021 from just $1.4 billion in 2018. — RJNI