MANILA-BASED Asian Development Bank (ADB) should lead the recovery efforts of Asia-Pacific economies weighed down by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war, according to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.
Dominguez made the call in his recent meeting in Tokyo, Japan with former Japanese Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tarō Asō and ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Finance said the ADB has the lowest lending costs, among multilateral development banks, owing to the “efficient management” under Asakawa.
Dominguez’s call comes after he urged the ADB last year to raise its capital so that it could expand its lending portfolio and effectiveness in the next five years as it supports the post-pandemic recovery of developing member countries.
In the same meeting, Dominguez also invited Asō, who is currently the Vice President of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), to visit the Philippines where Covid-19 cases are rapidly subsiding, and which now welcomes the entry of vaccinated visitors from other countries.
Discussion points at the meeting—which was also attended by Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V and Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven—included the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict; and the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is the proposed free trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim economies.
The finance chief also expressed appreciation for the support provided by Japan and the ADB to the Duterte administration’s pandemic response and development initiatives like its infrastructure modernization program “Build, Build, Build.”
Dominguez said the assistance provided by Japan and the ADB along with World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank led to the acceleration of the Covid-19 vaccination drive and the eventual full reopening of the Philippine economy this year.