• ADB urged to expedite loan approvals

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    THE National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is urging the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fast-track the processing of loans and technical assistance to be a more effective multilateral institution to its member countries.

    “I think we should be virtuous impatient [in terms of the completion of government projects],” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said during an Asian Development Bank book launch and seminar on Tuesday in Pasig City, after he was asked how would the government intends to achieve its ambitious infrastructure program.

    In the six years to 2022, the country intends to spend P8.4 trillion on infrastructure development.

    “I guess this impatience will also come out of guest institutions of the Philippines, especially ADB,” he added.
    ADB loan approval and technical assistance takes about three years, let alone the implementation and construction that takes about a decade, the Cabinet official noted.

    “So waiting for such a long time is really big for countries needing assistance. To paraphrase: assistance delayed is assistance effectively denied, especially for poorer countries in the region,” he said.

    “I think, if there is one reform that I will suggest here, for ADB to become more effective in faster processing of loans and technical assistance, especially because we have now technical assistance loan for feasibility studies that are being processed by the Board of ADB. So we need to be virtuous impatient and hope this will be infectious,” he said.

    ADB President Takehiko Nakao agreed, saying the Manila-based lender “should change and do things more quickly without compromising its work.”

    Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd also called for a more effective role for the ADB in reducing inequalities amid the rapid population and economic expansion in Asia-Pacific as the region drives the next cycle of global growth.

    ADB data showed that from 1966 to 2016, the approved lending, grant, and technical assistance to the Philippines totaled $17.22 billion of which the bulk or 23.82 percent went to public sector management.

    ADB is one of the country’s largest sources of official development assistance, with an average annual lending of $745 million in the past 10 years.

    In 2016 alone, the ADB approved loans, grants and technical assistance totaling $846.27 million.

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