Gov't to Improve Use of ODA Loans

Article excerpt

To fast-track implementation of foreign-assisted projects The Philippine government has committed to its lenders to improve further its procurement of official development assistance (ODA) loans, by efficiently implementing policies geared toward fasttracking foreign-assisted infrastructure projects.

While the country posted an improvement in its ODA availment in the last three quarters at $756 million, from $692 million in the same period last year, the lenders said this level of performance could still be enhanced.

The country's ODA lenders, like the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Asian Development Bank and World Bank, are one in saying that "much more vigorous effort will be required to achieve the government's target to double disbursement in 2001"

The Philippine government, through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), earlier with the multilateral lenders for the annual year-end ODA portfolio review for the country.

The ODA funding agencies stressed that serious work is needed at the ground level and the timely intervention of the newly-identified project implementation officers (PIOs) would certainly help.

The country's current ODA loan portfolio consists of 197 active loans with net commitments of US$12.9 billion. Of these loans, 189 are projecttype worth US$11.4 billion while eight are program-type worth US$1.5 billion.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Felipe M. Medalla who chaired the meeting expressed his optimism at government's commitment to improve ODA performance in terms of implementation efficiency and development effectiveness.

"I have no reason to doubt that we can achieve more and sustain improvement through time," Medalla said.

He, however, admitted that there are still a lot of things to be done to speed up long-delayed projects and catch up with the disbursement backlogs. …