The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved another round of financing for the national government that aims to beef up the latter’s war chest for coronavirus response.
BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said the Monetary Board approved a fresh zero-interest loan worth P540 billion to the Bureau of the Treasury, which will be used for budgetary support and to plug the widening budget shortfall.
“We are indeed pleased to help the national government in steering the country towards a gradual and sustainable path to recovery,” Diokno said during a media forum.
Diokno said this fresh provisional advance is in line with whole-of-government efforts to recovery from the pandemic-induced recession.
Since the global health crisis began in 2020, the BSP has already extended P1.38 trillion to the national government.
The central bank first granted a credit line to the Treasury in March amounting to P300 billion, which was fully settled in end-September.
The second provisional advance of P540 billion was again extended in October 2020 and was fully settled last December 18.
Earlier, the treasury reported that the national government’s borrowings jumped by twofolds in January to November last year to address the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Total borrowings stood at a record P3.047 trillion at end-November 2020, well above the P981.9 billion registered in the same period last year.
Bulk of the financing is accounted for by those sourced locally, with a gross amount of P2.46 trillion while the balance of P582.63 billion is accounted for by external financing. Economic managers have set a P3-trillion borrowing program each for this year and next, and domestic fundraising accounts for the bulk at 75 percent through the issuance of treasury bonds (T-bond), T-bills, and RTBs, among others.