ADB has $7.9-billion lending pipeline for Philippines

The Philippine Star
ADB has $7.9-billion lending pipeline for Philippines
The government concluded late last month the wrap up meeting of the Country Programming mission on ADB loans and grants for the Philippines from 2019 to 2021, NEDA said.
Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has a $7.915 -billion lending pipeline for infrastructure and other long-term investments in the country from 2018 to 2021, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said yesterday.

The government concluded late last month the wrap up meeting of the Country Programming mission on ADB loans and grants for the Philippines from 2019 to 2021, NEDA said.

Representing the country in the meeting were NEDA Undersecretary for Investment Programming Rolando Tungpalan, Assistant Secretary Ma. Edita Tan of the Department of Finance (DOF) and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Monetary Board member Felipe Medalla.

Tungpalan said the wrap-up meeting provided greater clarity in terms of results, costs and benefits, and time frame of projects.

“This makes us more optimistic that the Build Build Build program will be rolled out without delay,” Tungpalan said in a statement.

ADB said its lending pipeline of $945 million for 2018 comprises two policy-based loans (PBLs) worth $600 million, one results-based loan worth $300 million, and two other projects worth $45 million.

In the proposed lending pipeline of $2.47 billion for 2019, there are two PBLs worth $600 million and eight projects worth $1.87 billion.

For 2020, the total lending pipeline of $2.40 billion has two PBLs worth $600 million and six projects worth $1.8 billion.

On the other hand, the total lending pipeline of $2.1 billion in 2021 has two PBLs worth $600 million and seven projects worth $1.50 billion.

Tungpalan said the program loans would be guided by the government’s overall fiscal program which means that for project loans, the NEDA board’s Investment Coordination Committee vets on the viability of proposed projects while the DOF assesses how these will be financed.

A memorandum of understanding on ADB’s pipeline of projects is expected to be signed in June by ADB and the Philippine government through NEDA and DOF.

NEDA did not specify the projects to be covered by the programmed loans but ADB country director for the Philippines Kelly Bird said that for 2019 at least, the bank is is lining up for funding the construction of two transportation projects that would ease the burden of traffic congestion in Metro Manila, its country director said over the weekend.

This is in line with the bank’s decision to break down into a series of separate projects the proposed Metro Manila transport project phase 1 which has an indicative loan amount of $500 million.

The project aims to lower the cost of transportation and reduce travel time along EDSA by improving connectivity across all transport modes on the major thoroughfare and its surrounding areas and increasing passenger throughput.

This covers improvements on  the Metro Rail Transport Line 3 (MRT-3), buses, as well as pedestrian facilities. The project also aims to enable the government to operate and manage these transport systems in an efficient and effective manner through capacity-building.

“Two Metro Manila projects for delivery in 2019 include Metro Manila bridges to help ease traffic congestion and a series of elevated pedestrian greenways along EDSA to create modern, safe, and comfortable walkways. Also, ADB is preparing several rail-based projects for Metro Manila,” Bird said.

The bank is also preparing a technical assistance project for the DOTr to support its efforts in identifying traffic solutions for the heavily-congested metropolis, he said

Deteriorating traffic conditions in Metro Manila—the country’s main growth engine— is resulting in economic loses and social costs.

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