THE GOVERNMENT improved its use of official development assistance (ODA) loans last semester from a year ago, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), reflecting the current administration’s push to boost infrastructure development in its six-year term in a bid to prod overall economic growth faster.
NEDA said in a statement yesterday that ODA loan disbursement rate improved to 86.68% last semester from 71.38% in 2016’s first half, even though total amount fell 6.7% to $802.95 million from $861.04 million in the same comparable six months.
NEDA noted further that loans from Japan, administered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), accounted for the biggest share of 44.83% — at $4.84 billion — of some $10.797-billion total ODA loans in those six months.
“Japan has been our long-time development partner and we have established a strong relationship with them [sic]. They have one of the best loan terms,” the statement quoted NEDA Undersecretary for Investment Programming Rolando G. Tungpalan as saying, noting that JICA loans have a payment period of 40 years with annual interest rates of 0.1% for civil works and 0.01% for consulting services.
JICA-funded projects include the ₱355.588-billion first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project, P211.43-billion Philippine National Railways North 2 (Malolos-Clark Airport-Clark Green City Railway), P9.89-billion Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project and P5.4-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase II.
The World Bank came second with $2.948 billion, accounting for 27.31%, while the Asian Development Bank ranked third with $2.174 billion or 20.14%.
Last semester’s ODA loans consisted of 54 project loans worth some $8.197 billion and $2.6-billion seven program loans.