The next government should continue the public-private partnership (PPP) program initiated by the Aquino administration to close the infrastructure gap in the Philippines.
This was the key message of Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) during its sponsored PPP Forum, held in Makati City on Friday.
ADB Country Director for the Philippines Richard Bolt said the Philippines PPP program has made “terrific” progress since it started in 2010, noting that to date, 12 projects have been awarded while 14 more were in the bidding stage.
“There was also a developed credible future pipeline of projects so we really hope the next administration will continue this further,” he said.
Nevertheless, Bolt also stressed that the government needs to do more in terms of infrastructure development.
“The infrastructure gap is still substantial. It is a critical foundation to boost inclusive growth from its present level,” he said.
ADB studies estimated that Philippine infrastructure financing needs from 2010 through 2020 are $127.12 billion, requiring an annual investment of $11.56 billion.
Bolt pointed out that infrastructure is vital to sustain the country’s competitiveness not only in the Southeast Asian region but globally as well.
“Let us join hands to ensure future funding for the PPP program so it will continue to be strong and sustainable,” he told the forum’s participants.
In line with this, Bolt said the ADB is now gearing up for the second phase of its technical assistance program for the Philippine PPP program, together with its development partners from Canada and Australia.
“The second phase will continue to support reforms that were put place under the first program but with clearer focus on budget implementation, accountability and process transparency, and the development of the pipeline of bankable PPP projects,” he said.
Bolt said the first ADB-Canada-Australia technical assistance program aimed at strengthening the Philippine PPP program provided a total of about $28 million in funding.
“I am very happy to note that the technical assistance has so far helped to further improve the PPP enabling environment,” he said.