COVID financing support hits $9B


    The financing support secured by the Philippine government for its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response has reached almost $9 billion, data released by the Department of Finance (DOF) showed.

    In its website, the DOF said it has raised, as of September 14, a total of $8.33 billion in budgetary support financing from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Agence Française de Développement, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and dollar-denominated global bonds.

    Of the said amount, $6.86 billion has been disbursed to the government.

    In addition, a total of $621.36 million in grant and loan financing has been contracted in support of various projects to be implemented by agencies involved in COVID-19 response, the DOF said.

    Meanwhile, Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, said in a virtual briefing last Tuesday the positive collection performance of the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and of Customs (BOC), as against their revised targets, are developments that are considered in the government’s borrowing plan.

    To recall, the government had to borrow more to support its COVID-19 response, as tax collections fell short amid the COVID-19 related lockdown measures which resulted in limited economic activity.

    “Our borrowing program will be informed by these new developments. And these new developments are positive and we may not need to borrow as much as we did. But again, we are waiting to see how the rest of the year goes by,” Dominguez said.

    The DOF earlier reported that the two collecting agencies generated P1.636 trillion in January to August 2020, exceeding the P1.527 trillion goal set by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

    Citing preliminary BIR and BOC data, DOF said from January 1 to August 31, 2020, the two agencies collected P109.5 billion more than the revised collection figure set by the DBCC last July to account for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.

    “(However) we are still around 12 percent below our collections last year. We are still short of what we would like ideally but the revenues agencies have shown that they are still very active and that they are taking their job very seriously,” Dominguez said.

    “They have, in fact, exceeded the revised targets. But, again, I like to emphasize we are still about 12 percent below last year,” he added. (A. Celis)