PH capacity for foreign aid improves in Q4

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THE country’s absorptive capacity for foreign aid improved in the fourth quarter of 2014 as actual expenditures for projects and programs funded by official development assistance (ODA) nearly tripled from a year earlier, the country’s economic planning agency said.

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According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the disbursement level of loans for ODA-funded projects increased to $1.62 billion (P72.6 billion) in the three-month period from $546.36 million during the same period in 2013.

NEDA said that the improvement was caused by higher actual loan drawdown or disbursements from 13 program loans amounting to $1.1 billion from $182.6 million the year before.

“Comparing the financial performance in the fourth quarter of 2014 from the same period in 2013, all absorptive capacity indicators registered favorable performance,” NEDA Monitoring and Evaluation Staff (MES) Director Roderick Planta said.

ODA financial performance indicators include the disbursement level, disbursement rate, availment rate, and the disbursement ratio.

The disbursement rate — or the actual disbursement level as a percentage of target disbursement for the year — rose to 68.3 percent in 2014 from 50.3 percent in 2013.

NEDA said that although the fourth-quarter disbursement rate remained below the acceptable 70-percent threshold for a satisfactory financial performance for a given year, it was still a significant improvement compared to the 2013 figure.

Meanwhile, the availment rate — or the percentage of loan amount actual utilization against the loan schedule — also improved and exceeded the threshold at 77 percent in the fourth quarter from 73 percent in the previous year.

The disbursement ratio — or the actual drawdown as against the available net loan amount — improved to 21.6 percent in the fourth quarter from 9.3 percent in the same period in 2013.

“The increase was due to the entry of about $2.04 billion worth of new program loans, almost half of which was disbursed within the year,” NEDA stated.

NEDA also reported that overall net commitment for ODA-assisted projects and programs rose by $3.18 billion in the fourth quarter to $11.29 billion from $8.11 billion in the same quarter in 2013.

The net commitment consists of 13 program loans amounting to $4.09 billion and 62 project loans amounting to $7.21 billion, it said.

The infrastructure sector had the largest share with 40.2 percent.

The World Bank was the biggest source of loans during the period, with a 39.5-percent share amounting to $4.46 billion, followed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with $3.41 billion and the Asian Development Bank with $2.23 billion.

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