Dominguez seeks more ‘empowered’ ADB chief


Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III urged other Asian Development Bank (ADB) governors to empower President Masatsugu Asakawa with more discretion in undertaking measures to ad¬dress the pandemic and any resulting economic fallout.

In a letter to his fellow ADB governors, Dominguez said that providing Asakawa, president of the ADB, with some leeway, “within reasonable limits,” in handling the institution’s budget and approving crisis-related initiatives will go a long way.

He said it will ensure that timely and decisive action is taken by the Manila-based multilateral institutions in fighting the coronavirus disease (COVID- 19) pandemic and the economic fallout that will follow.

“Now more than ever, we, the Board of Governors of the ADB, should do our part to support the ADB Management in ensuring that its avowed functions are carried out with utmost efficiency and effectiveness,” Dominguez said in his emailed letter to the other 67 ADB governors.

“I therefore call on my fellow Governors to empower our trusted ADB President and the Bank's Management to work alongside the governments of developing member-economies in dealing with the crisis in a highly responsive man¬ner,” he added. Asakawa was also furnished with the letter.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. A certain degree of discretion ought to be provided to the President on administrative matters, such as allocating the Bank's budget and authority to approve crisis-related programs and projects, within rea¬sonable limits,” he said.

Dominguez pointed out that the global health crisis spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled governments to rethink their priorities and “force a paradigm shift in the way they deal with global concerns.”

Amidst and after the crisis, Dominguez said the ADB needs to “stand taller” among the other development institutions.

“This will require us, the Board of Governors of the ADB, to take bold action to realize that vision,” he said.

As societies adopt, and adapt to, radical steps needed to defeat COVID-19, Dominguez said the ADB’s array of decisive measures carried out since early February under Asakawa proves that strong leadership translated into actions can “spell a difference in the lives of many.”