ADB hikes assistance for PH infrastructure

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Asian Development Bank (ADB) funding for the Philippines’ infrastructure-related investments has been increased for the next three years, the Finance department said on Tuesday.

Citing the Manila-based lender’s Country Operations Business Plan (COBP), the department said available funding was raised to 48 percent of actual loan approvals from 34 percent during the 2011-2016 period.

The new COBP for 2018 to 2020 will provide $1.9 billion for sustainable infrastructure and development, $1.2 billion for regional development and finance, and $900 million for human development.

On top of these, loans offered for infrastructure-related projects account for almost 40 percent of the ADB’s $3.68-billion Philippine Sovereign Lending Program for 2018 to 2020, the Finance department said.
Under the Sovereign Lending Program, the ADB has made available about $920 million in funds, with another $400 million on standby, for 2018; $1.4 billion for 2019; and $1.36 billion for 2020 with $600 million on standby.
Projects eligible for ADB funding include the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project ($70 million), Expanding Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure Sub-Program 2 ($300 million), Inclusive Financial Sector Development Program ($300 million), Secondary Education Support Project ($300 million), Metro Manila Transport Project ($100 million), Metro Manila Water Supply Project ($200 million), Central Spine Connectivity Project Phase 1 ($100 million), Mindanao River Basin Flood Control Project $160 million), and the Expanded Social Assistance Project ($300 million).


For the 2011 to 2016 period, actual lending approvals by the ADB under the COBP totaled $1.45 billion for sustainable and climate resilient infrastructure, $2.57 billion for good governance and finance, and $300 million for employment and education.

The Finance department said that in a recent meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, ADB President Takehiko Nakao also mentioned four new lending programs for the Philippines amounting to $1.08 billion.

These are the Encouraging Investment through Capital Market Reforms Subprogram 2 ($300 million), Improving Growth Corridors in the Mindanao Road Sector ($380 million), Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition ($300 million) and the establishment of an Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility ($100 million).

The Finance department claimed that these were in recognition of the Duterte government’s strong resolve to bridge the country’s massive infrastructure gap.

The ADB was also said to have expressed support for the government’s “hybrid” public-private partnership approach to infrastructure projects.

“It’s very positive that the government is very serious about the “Build, Build, Build,” ADB principal country specialist Joven Balbosa was quoted as saying.

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