ADB ups lending to Philippines for infrastructure, inclusive finance

DECEMBER 17, 2018 - 6:46 PM

THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) has increased lending to the Philippines to support the government's Build, Build, Build programme, with its loan commitments for the country reaching a record US$1.3 billion for 2018, and expected to rise to as high as US$2.9 billion by 2019.

The latest loans include US$300 million for the Expanding Private Participation in Infrastructure Program, and another US$300 million for the Inclusive Finance Development Program. Another loan will support the Philippines’ Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Roads Sector project. On Dec 14, the ADB board also approved the US$408 million Emergency Assistance for Reconstruction and Recovery of Marawi financing package.

The Duterte administration plans to raise public infrastructure spending to 7.4 per cent of gross domestic product by 2022. Expressing support for this programme, ADB president Takehiko Nakao said he was confident that the loans will be used in an efficient and quick manner.

Under a new six-year Country Partnership Strategy, the ADB will lend around US$7.8 billion to the Philippines from 2018 till 2021, or about US$2.5 billion annually -- more than twice the amount of annual assistance received since 2011. More than half of this amount has been reserved for infrastructure projects.

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Since its first loan granted in 1969, the ADB has already provided the Philippines more than US$19 billion in sovereign and non-sovereign lending.

Finance secretary of the Philippines Carlos Dominguez emphasized the government’s firm commitment to projects involving public-private partnership (PPP), especially in managing completed and future infrastructure projects. Although construction of international airports in Clark City and Panglao were implemented quickly by de-emphasizing PPP, the management of these facilities will be taken over by the private sector, he noted.

Dominguez added that while transport and tourism projects are the Philippine government’s current priority, other PPP projects are also being pushed. This includes the national ID programme and fuel marking, which will be implemented in February.