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PHL seeks $5.7B worth of WB loans


THE PHILIPPINES is eyeing $5.677 billion worth of loans from the World Bank (WB) over the next few years, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

In a statement, the DoF said Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno met with World Bank Group (WBG) Managing Director for Operations Anna Bjerde to discuss the programs and projects being considered for financing from fiscal year 2024 to 2025 and onwards.

Mr. Diokno met with WBG officials on the sidelines of 2023 Annual World Bank-International Monetary Fund (WB-IMF) annual meetings in Marrakesh, Morocco.

“A total of 20 pipeline loans amounting to $5.677 billion are expected to be signed between the Philippines and the WBG,” the DoF said.

The $5.677 billion worth of loans will be focused on projects involved in “digital transformation, disaster risk management, climate, transportation, and energy, among others.”

Ms. Bjerde was quoted by the DoF as saying the World Bank is “finding ways to speed up the approval processes and execution of the projects, which is key to ensuring that countries benefit sooner and development objectives are delivered quicker and better.”

She also noted the multilateral lender’s interest in “exploring partnerships and private capital mobilization opportunities with the Philippines on digitalization and renewable energy.”

The Philippines currently has 18 ongoing loans with the lender worth $5.701 billion.

Last year, the World Bank was the country’s third-largest source of official development assistance (ODA), accounting for 21.18% of the total ODA portfolio. This was equivalent to $6.86 billion in 29 programs and projects.

Meanwhile, Mr. Diokno also met with representatives from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Mizuho Securities, and Nomura Holdings on Oct. 14 to discuss investment opportunities in the Philippines.

“The banks expressed strong interest in advancing investments in the Philippines’ renewable energy, sustainable technology, infrastructure, and fixed-income instruments,” the DoF said.

The DoF said the Japanese financial institutions also discussed opportunities in public-private partnerships, infrastructure flagship projects, and sustainable finance instruments. — L.M.J.C. Jocson

Neil Banzuelo

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