PH can tap over $3.8B in loans, aid from ADB

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The Philippines can tap over $3.8 billion worth of loans and non-lending programs from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help fund spending on infrastructure and social services, the Finance department said.

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The amount is covered by the ADB’s Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for the Philippines, the department added, citing a report from its International Finance Group (IFG) said.

It said the COBP was focused on three priority areas:

• $1.8 billion or 47.4 percent of the proposed funds will go to infrastructure development;

• $1.5 billion or 39.5 percent for education and skills development, access to finance, expanded social protection and employment opportunities for the youth; and

• $500 million or 13.1 percent for programs on good governance and finance.

The COBP will cover 2018 to 2020.

“Program loans under the proposed lending pipeline make up 39 percent of the COBP while project loans account for 61 percent,” the IFG was quoted as having said in the report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd.

A balance of $21.8 million will be in the form of non-lending programs, it said

The IFG said the Manila-based multilateral lender had also agreed to explore co-financing arrangements with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on major infrastructure projects such as the proposed Philippine National Railways (PNR) Malolos-Clark Railway and the PNR Commuter South Line project.

The ADB agreed to help the Philippines beef up its capacity and readiness in handling and financing infrastructure projects, it added.

The lender also agreed to the Philippines’ request for quarterly meetings to ensure that the ADB’s country partnership strategy was aligned with the government’s priorities.

“The Bank has also responded positively to our request to increase the Philippines’ lending envelope and provide more grants and technical assistance,” the IFG noted.

Projects covered by the COBP for 2018-2020 include the Central Spine Roll-On/ Roll-Off (RORO) Project, expected to speed up travel between Metro Manila and Northern Mindanao, and the Mindanao River Basin Flood Control Project.

The bank also committed to design a $300-million package of critical transportation infrastructure initiatives to ease Metro Manila traffic. The IFG said the ADB was now exploring the possibility of co-financing this with other multilateral institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Agence Francaise de Developpement, it said.

For the non-lending component of the COBP, the programs include support for project preparation and capacity building for various government agencies, the IFG said.

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