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Saturday, November 25, 2017

DOF: EDSA BRT up for financing from KEXIM

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By Chino S. Leyco

The government plans to submit for possible financing the second phase of the bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Metro Manila to th Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM), the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

Finance Assistant Secretary Maria Edita Z. Tan said the government has identified the EDSA buses rapid transit as one of the two projects the Philippines may negotiate with KEXIM for possible financing.

Tan disclosed the EDSA BRT will be co-financed by other multilateral financial institution, while second project for KEXIM is the R9.2-billion international container port project in Cebu.

“We are going to have a discussion with them. Right now we have identified two projects that are actually part of the flagship program of the government. One of them is actually the new Cebu international container port, and the other one is Metro Manila bus rapid transit,” Tan said.

In deciding what projects should be submitted to the KEXIM, Tan said they must be aligned with the priorities of the Duterte administration.

“We do have a rolling pipeline, we are scheduled to have a meeting with them to strengthen the pipeline to make sure that it is actually aligned with the priorities of the government,” said Tan, who is in-charge of the DOF’s International Finance Group.

Tan said they will submit the EDSA BRT project to the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) once the feasibly study is completed.

The World Bank approved last March a $64.6-million loan to build the first BRT system in Metro Manila that will run between Manila and Quezon City.

In July,  Tan had said the government was planning to submit seven new infrastructure projects for possible financing from KEXIM as part of the Korean Eximbank’s five-year $1 billion in concessional loans for the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Philippines is set to sign a loan agreement with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) of France to partly fund the development of efficient and transparent local governments in the country.

The DOF said in a statement yesterday that the government will ink a 100 million euro ($115 million) loan to support the Local Government Finance and Fiscal Decentralization Reform Program, Sub-program 2 (LGFFDR2).

The LGFFDR2 is a program loan that is part of the national government’s external financing plan to partially support the general budgetary requirements of the state.

LGFFDR2 is being co-financed by AFD along with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), with the latter providing $250 million.

Under the program, the project aims to improve efficiency of public expenditure, boost municipal revenues streams, assist local economic development and job creation. It also intends to enhance accountability of local government administration.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III submitted by the DOF-International Finance Group, the 100 million euro program loan from AFD aims to aid the government’s programs for inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

The program loan also aims to create a conducive fiscal framework for inclusive growth, develop an adequate and equitable resource framework for fiscal sustainability, strengthen public financial management, and foster good local governance, transparency and accountability.

The IFG said the target disbursement for the AFD-loan, if it is signed on schedule, is either in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2018.

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