ADB to fund $9.1-B PH’s infra, pro-poor projects

Published October 17, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chino S. Leyco

Asian Development Bank (ADB) is expected to extend $9.1 billion in loans to the Philippines over the next three years to help fund the country’s much-needed infrastructure and pro-poor projects that will merge rural areas into urban areas.

ADB logo2

Kelly Bird, ADB Philippines country director said the lender’s sovereign lending for the Philippines is expected to reach $9.1 billion in the next three years to bankroll priority projects identified by the Manila-based bank.

Under the Philippines country operations business plan for 2020 to 2022, ADB will invest 59.5 percent of its three-year sovereign lending program in transportation projects, such as railways, bridges, road networks, and elevated pedestrian walkways.

The rest of ABD’s financial support will be devoted to the social sector, agriculture, public sector management, and sustainable water and urban development.

Bird said the latest sovereign lending program reflects ADB’s strong commitment to support the Philippines’ efforts to sustain inclusive economic growth, create business and job opportunities in the regions.

He added the lending facility also aims to widen the reach of the government’s education, health, and social protection programs.

ADB plans to finance projects and programs worth at least $2.5 billion annually in 2020 and 2021, matching the record high of $2.5 billion in sovereign lending to the Philippines expected by the end of the year.

In comparison, ADB’s annual lending between 2008 and 2018 averaged about $800 million.

Half of ADB’s 2019 assistance program will fund the first tranche of the Malolos-Clark railway project, one of the government’s big-ticket infrastructure projects under its “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program.

The northern railway project is also the largest ADB project financing to date, worth $2.75 billion in total.

According to the ADB, contracts for civil works for the railway project are expected to be awarded before the end of the year and construction work may begin in the second quarter next year.

ADB also said it is preparing additional financing this year for the infrastructure preparation and innovation facility to support detailed engineering designs and feasibility studies for the government’s priority projects under the BBB program.

“This will ensure a steady flow of investments into much-needed infrastructure projects that are viable and innovative,” ADB said.