Opec unit offers to finance projects under ‘BBB’

The Department of Finance said a financial institution established by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) has offered to fund the government’s “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) infrastructure program.

During a recent meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, key officials of the Opec Fund for International Development (Ofid), reiterated their interest to assist and collaborate with the Philippine government in carrying out its priority programs.

Dominguez said Ofid could help fund projects rebuilding the devastated city of Marawi in Mindanao and participate in the development of a New Clark City in Pampanga, where an alternative international airport is being built and a new government center will rise.

The finance chief also mentioned the rehabilitation of the Agus power plant system in Mindanao that is currently operating at only 40 percent capacity.

Anajulia Taylhardat, Ofid director for Asia, said at the meeting the institution would be “very happy to support” these types of projects, and that they are “very interested in working” on the rehabilitation of the Agus power plant.

“We are here to reiterate our keen interest to assist and collaborate with the government and support your plans,” Taylhardat said.

Ofid, established in 1976, has  13 member-countries, namely: Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Dominguez thanked the Ofidfor its interest in helping fund the BBB program and other development projects. He also said the Philippines will continue to explore possible financing or cofinancing opportunities with the institution.

“We are very happy that you have an interest to help us,” Dominguez said.

Ofid’s portfolio in the Philippines consists of 14 loans amounting to $173.25 million, of which two are ongoing commitments worth $51.609 million.

The ongoing projects include the $30-million Road Improvement and Institutional Development Project, which aims to finance the periodic maintenance of about 340 kilometers of national roads on the west coast of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao; and the $21.609-million Agrarian Reform Communities Project 2, which provides continued support to the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Program.

Both projects are cofinanced with the Asian Development Bank.

The Opec, which aims to help reduce poverty in developing countries, is an intergovernmental organization of 14 nations to date and was founded in 1960 in Baghdad. It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

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