NEDA to approve 18 more flagship projects this year

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The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board is eyeing to approve 18 more flagship infrastructure projects this year under the Build, Build, Build component of Dutertenomics.

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“Maybe 18 or somewhere in that order,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told reporters in an interview in Makati City on Thursday, when asked how many more flagship projects will the NEDA Board approve this year.

Pernia said the government intends to focus on 75 flagship projects that will help reduce inequality and promote connectivity.

Out of the 75 flagship projects, 18 valued at P462.74 billion have been approved by the NEDA Board since the Duterte administration assumed office in June 2016.

“Projects will be pursued based on their established need and readiness; and there will be no bias towards a particular financing mode. Financing will be evaluated depending on the conditions and circumstances that are most advantageous. We shall take into account each project’s nature, as well as economic, financial and technical considerations,” Pernia said.

The government is committed to deliver the planned infrastructure program faster, Pernia noted. “Thus, I encourage the private companies to engage more with the government in developing and implementing priority infrastructure projects,” he said.

This year, the government targets to spend P847 billion on infrastructure development projects in all regions, including small, medium and large-scale ventures to meet the infrastructure spending-to-gross domestic product ratio of 5.3 percent.

Under the Build, Build, Build program, the government intends to spend P8.4 trillion on infrastructure until 2022.

74 in 2022

Meanwhile, Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno is optimistic that the Duterte administration will complete 74 of its 75 flagship projects before its term ends in 2022.

“Seventy-four projects will be completed within the President’s term, except the subway, because it would take until 2024 before it would be completed,” Diokno told reporters in an ambush interview also in Makati City on Thursday.

The Mega Manila Subway is a 25 kilometer underground mass transportation system connecting major business districts and government centers. It is expected to serve 370,000 passengers a day in its opening year.

With a grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, a feasibility study is now being done on the P227 billion project.

“We will have to finish the other 74 projects because the President does not want to start a project then leave it behind incomplete after his term,” he said.

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