THE total of unused loans drawn from international bodies already breached the P8-billion mark, leaving state auditors doubtful about the intended purposes for projects to be bankrolled by these loans.
The Commission on Audit (COA) disclosed in the report on the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) that withdrawals for supposedly livelihood projects already amounted P8.45 billion, an amount that was not used by the end of last year.
Auditors are commenting on the seven projects lined up as official development assistance (ODA) from five multi-lateral financial institutions that aim to carry out countryside development programs for energy, environment and health.
The audit team said that the government withdrew P3.13 billion from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to finance clean development mechanism projects, whose implementation were extended to May 2014. No undrawn amount was left.
P1.94 billion was also drawn from Kreditanstalt für Wiede-raufbau (KfW) to assist “private and public incentives [for]hospitals, clinics, health center, laboratories and medical schools” and expansion of existing facilities. The project target was moved to November 2014. No undrawn amount was left.
Meanwhile, a total of P3.48 billion was withdrawn from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for infrastructure (P3.26 billion) and environ-mental protection and water supply (P227 million).
Both projects will close on December 2016.
For special development project to improve health care facilities in public and private enterprises, the DBP advanced P107 million which will be charged against the Asian Development Bank. More than P2 billion is still intact.
Also, two projects from the World Bank aimed to provide rural electrification project (P1.2 billion) and public infrastructure (P1.83 billion).
Only P1 million was drawn from the P1.2-billion electrification project, which already closed at 2012 yearend; while no withdrawn cash was made on the second project for infrastructure, whose loan agreement was made in February 2012 and will close in November 2016.
COA commented that there was a “minimal utilization of ODA funds” in the implementation of the JBIC project, KfW project and ADB-backed healthcare program, totaling P7.14 billion.
“With the slow-moving utili-zation of these funds and the projects being close to their implementation schedule, there is uncertainty in the purposes for which these loans were acquired being ever achieved,” COA said, adding that these projects were instituted to achieve the 2015-target Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
COA told the DBP to “intensify [its]promotion and marketing of the ODA borrowings” to target the millennium development goals of poverty alleviation, minimizing infant mortality, protection of environment, and development of renewable source of energy.
Also, “if it would be more advantageous to DBP,” the state-controlled bank should consider cancellation of the loan agreements or pre-termination of the loans with the funders, auditors said.
In its reply though, DBP said that they were given three to seven years to implement or draw from a facility in accordance with agreed projected disbursement program.
Bank officials added that between January and April of this year, DBP raised the total loan releases to P9.43 billion and approved P7.82-billion worth of loans for documen-tation and release.
“While we took note of [DBP’s] efforts to improve the utilization of ODA funds, there is still doubt whether the amount of withdrawn or undrawn ODA funds totaling P29.23 billion could be imple-mented in two to three years,” COA said in a rejoinder.