The Philippines’ loan portfolio with the World Bank is expected to jump to between $1.5 billion and $2 billion annually starting next year, which is about thrice more than the multilateral institution’s average annual lending commitment of $600 million to the country for the past decade, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, at the ceremonial signing for the agreement for the Promoting Competitiveness and Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters Sub-Program 1 Development Policy Loan (DPL1), said the loan portfolio is seen to increase with the three-tranche loan.
The Philippines sealed the $400-million loan accord with the World Bank representing the first tranche of a three-part financing package, with a total amount of $1.2 billion, that aims to further boost the country’s competitiveness and fiscal sustainability while enhancing its resilience to natural disasters and the impact of climate change.
Dominguez, on behalf of the Philippine government, and acting country director Achim Fock, representing the World Bank, signed the agreement for the DPL.
“This financing support very clearly helps drive our general effort to build a resilient and competitive society over the medium term. We thank the World Bank for its confidence in our determination to push forward reforms that will create a strong and inclusive economy for our people,” Dominguez said after the signing ceremony yesterday at the DOF office in Manila.
Fock said the World Bank is committed to continuing its support to the Philippines’ development agenda.
“My colleagues and I look forward to the continued success of the country’s programs for poverty reduction and inclusive growth. We like to thank the Department of Finance and Secretary Dominguez for his excellent leadership in this important endeavor,” Fock said.
The loan from the World Bank aims to further improve the Philippines’ financial mechanisms available for disaster response, and aid the country in formulating public asset management policies; and enhancing regulation for the insurance market against natural disasters.
It will likewise support the government in ensuring food security; streamlining government procedures to simplify the ease of doing business; and increasing access to economic opportunities through the rollout of the national ID and electronic payment systems.
The loan package, which was approved by the World Bank last December 17, has a maturity period of 19 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period.
The approvals and disbursements under the loan will be based on the Philippines’ accomplishment of policy actions agreed upon by the two parties.
Besides the DOF as the executing and implementing agency, other agencies involved in the program’s implementation are the Anti-Red Tape Authority, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Departments of Agriculture and of Budget and Management, Bureau of the Treasury, Philippine Statistics Authority, and the Insurance Commission.
Dominguez said the expected increase in the Philippines’ World Bank loan portfolio will allow the government “to maximize the bank’s financing support as a donor institution, and its expertise and experience as a knowledge bank in various areas, including strengthening governance, human capital development, disaster preparedness, and addressing fragility and conflict.”
He also welcomed the World Bank’s recently approved Country Partnership Framework for the Philippines for the period 2020-2023, which will prioritize investments in human capital (health, education, nutrition), competitiveness and job creation, peace-building, climate and disaster resilience, governance, and digital transformation.