PH imposed with P242.48-M commitment fees from delayed ODA loans

Published August 29, 2020, 4:30 PM

by Ben Rosario

Commitment fees imposed by lenders for the failure of Philippine government to take out Overseas Development Assistance loans due to the withdrawal or delayed implementation of projects has recorded a high  P242.48 million in 2019, the Commission on Audit has bared.

In the 2019 Consolidated Audit Report on ODA Programs and Projects that was released Friday, CoA disclosed that debt service expenditure of the government for the year has reached P84.228 billion that included the huge commitment fee expenditures.

CoA disclosed that of the country’s external debt as of Dec. 31, 2019, ODA loans account for 37.91 percent or P1.07 trillion.

ODA are loans or grants sought by government to promote “sustainable, social, and economic development and welfare of the country.”

These are sourced mainly from five development partners of the country — the Asian Development Bank, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Japanese international Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the China Export and Import Bank (CEXIM).

“Availments for 59 loans for CY 2019 amounted to P127,554.61 million, an increase from the CY 2018 level by P11,321.53 million or by 9.74 percent,” CoA said.

According to the State audit agency, debt service expenditures for the year reached P84.228 billion for 298 National Government Relent loans and 53 NG-Guaranteed Loans.

Of the 62 ODA-funded projects and programs, CoA noted delay in implementation resulting to “non-attainment of objectives” and delay in the delivery of benefits to intended beneficiaries.

Auditors called on the implementing agencies to improve overall project implementation by developing strategies to detect any deviations in outputs and programmed activities and ensure timeliness schedules.

Slow implementation of projects also triggered delays in accessing available project funds that result to payment of commitment fees.

In its financial management observation, CoA noted that there has been failure by IAs to take necessary actions for fund utilization and the non-matching of programmed

State auditors also asked the Department of Budget and Management to ensure adequate and timely release of project funds.

CoA lamented that there was no strict observance of relevant procurement laws in the implementation of certain projects. Among  these are the failure to recoup mobilization fees amounting to P10.99 million, pending expropriation of lots for the right of way affected by the project, and validity of the performance security that do not cover contract execution and completion.