3-year ADB loan for PHL infra supersized to 48%

The Department of Finance (DOF) said the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has increased the available funding for the country’s infrastructure-related activities, from 34 percent of actual lending approvals covering the years 2011 through 2016 to 48 percent over the next three years.

According to the DOF, the ADB, in recognition of the government’s strong resolve to bridge the country’s massive infrastructure gap, has increased to 48 percent the available funding for the administration’s infrastructure program.

On top of the available funds under the ADB’s Country Operations Business Plan (COBP), loans the multilateral institution has set aside for infrastructure-related projects equal almost 40 percent of the $3.68-billion Philippine sovereign lending program for 2018 to 2020.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao updated Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on the bank’s four new lending programs for the Philippines this year, amounting to $1.08 billion, in a recent meeting in Manila.

Dominguez thanked the ADB for continuing to extend its assistance to the Philippines, including programs like Encouraging Investment through Capital Market Reforms Subprogram 2, with funding amounting to $300 million; Improving Growth Corridors in the Mindanao Road Sector for another $380 million; the Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition for $300 million, and the establishment of an Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility for $100 million.

“Thank you to a stronger, faster and better ADB,” Dominguez said.

The government plans to spend P8.4 trillion under its “Build, Build, Build” program to rapidly modernize the country’s infrastructure over the medium term.

From 2011 to 2016, actual ADB loan approvals for the Philippines under the COBP totaled $1.45 billion for sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure, $2.57 billion for good governance and finance and $300 million for employment and education.

The new COBP covering the period from 2018 to 2020 will provide $1.9 billion for sustainable infrastructure and development, $1.2 billion for regional development and finance and $900 million for human development, according to the ADB.

The ADB’s sovereign lending program for the Philippines has made available some $920 million in funds and another $400 million on standby for 2018; $1.4 billion for 2019; $1.36 billion for 2020 and $600 million on standby.

Among the projects eligible for sovereign financing include the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project worth $70 million, Expanding Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure Subprogram 2 for $300 million, Inclusive Financial Sector Development Program for $300 million, Secondary Education Support Project worth $300 million, Metro Manila Transport Project worth $100 million, Metro Manila Water Supply Project for another $200 million, Central Spine Connectivity Project Phase 1 worth $100 million, Mindanao River Basin Flood Control Project worth $160 million and the Expanded Social Assistance Project worth $300 million.

At the meeting, Dominguez also expressed his support for a multifunction global support platform for infrastructure projects called the SOURCE as a vital tool to strengthen the government’s technical capacity to pursue its infrastructure program.

“I’d like to thank you for funding the capacity buildup, for the technical consultants, and also we would like to support your use of the United Nations-backed SOURCE database for PPP [public-private partnership] projects. We will support it 100 percent,” Dominguez said.

Participation and use of the SOURCE platform increases the visibility of infrastructure projects to government partners, multilateral institutions and global investors, the DOF said.