$11B ODA added to COVID response

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    Karl Kendrick Chua, acting NEDA director (Photo from PCOO)

    The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said 19 official development assistance (ODA) loans and grants amounting to $10.94 billion have been added to the country’s total ODA portfolio in support of government efforts to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and to mitigate its economic impact.

    Karl Kendrick Chua, acting socioeconomic planning secretary, said in a statement yesterday the government needed to borrow more in 2020 to help fund emergency response, social protection programs and other related expenditures that would provide immediate relief to Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The COVID-19 response-related ODA consists of 16 loans and three grants, NEDA said.

    “These will enable us to provide more support to the people and will also help cover budget priorities in 2020 and 2021 to help address the health crisis,” Chua said.

    NEDA also earlier released a report which showed the country’s ODA portfolio as of December 2019 stood at $21.62 billion.

    In the recently released ODA Portfolio Review 2019 report, NEDA said the portfolio consisted of 84 loans worth $19.98 billion (92 percent of the total portfolio) and 268 grants worth $1.64 billion (8 percent of the total portfolio).

    Japan remained the top provider of ODA to the Philippines in 2019, with its loans and grants amounting to $8.51 billion. This accounts for 39 percent of the active ODA portfolio.

    The infrastructure development sector accounted for the largest share of the active ODA portfolio with 58 percent ($12.54 billion), followed by the social reform and community development sector with 18 percent ($3.81 billion).

    The overall disbursement level of the loans portfolio increased by 21 percent from $2.23 billion in 2018 to $2.71 billion in 2019, while the disbursement rate of the project loans portfolio increased to 64 percent in 2019 from 58 percent in 2018.

    Moreover, the availment rate of the project loans portfolio performed better with a 6 percentage point increase from 67 percent in 2018 to 73 percent in 2019.

    “The recent loans portfolio performance showed improvements for the past two years. For 2019, all indicators of absorptive capacity improved,” Chua said.

    “We are grateful to our development partners for supporting us in our efforts to pursue much-needed reforms towards a higher growth trajectory and improving the quality of life of all Filipino people,” he added.