Approval process for infrastructure streamlined at NEDA Board level

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Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III -- PHOTO CREDIT: KING RODRIGUEZ/WWW.PCOO.GOV.PH

ECONOMIC MANAGERS will seek to identify and eliminate redundant approval processes for government projects, in order to fast-track their implementation.

“Our goal here is to speed up the approval and implementation of our flagship infra projects so that we can get shovels on the ground as soon as possible,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said during a Senate hearing on the Finance department’s budget last Tuesday. 

Mr. Dominguez noted current internal rules of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board that require the projects to obtain confirmation from three separate agencies after the President has given final approval, before these projects are rolled out.

After these confirmations, the projects again have to get through another NEDA Board meeting — which convenes about every month and a half.

“Under our proposal, we are doing the approval and confirmation of projects in the same meeting so we don’t have to wait for another one or two months,” he said.

“We are really tightening up the procedures to speed up the processing of our projects,” Mr. Dominguez added.

Under the streamlined process, the issuance of the Special Presidential Authority to government officials to negotiate and sign the loan, guarantee or grant agreement for the project, and the Forward Obligational Authority by the Department of Budget and Management would be issued simultaneously, along with the NEDA Board’s approval and confirmation of the project.

Mr. Dominguez said that the revamp of the rules will not require legislation, or an amendment of any implementing rules and regulation.

“So instead of having three distinct approvals after the NEDA Board, you just have one. Once it is approved by the NEDA Board, all of this other two requirements are approved. So hopefully that will shorten the waiting period,” Mr. Dominguez said.

The economic team met with its Japanese and Chinese counterparts on separate occasions recently, with all sides agreeing to fast-track the implementation of infrastructure projects funded by them.

Japanese and Chinese leaders have each pledged Official Development Assistance  worth $9 billion. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan