The Department of Finance and the Agence Française de Développement signed two credit facility agreements worth 250 million euros or P14 billion to support major policy reforms of the government to expand financial services to vulnerable sectors and increase private sector participation in infrastructure projects.
Both programs, co-financed with the Asian Development Bank, also aim to support the economy and strengthen its resilience in the post-COVID-19 period.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and French Ambassador to the Philippines and Micronesia Nicolas Galey signed the loan agreements for the Inclusive Finance Development Program worth 100 million euros and the Expanding Private Participation in Infrastructure Program worth 150 million euros on June 9.
“The Philippine government is grateful to the Agence Francaise de Developpement for co-financing with the Asian Development Bank two programs supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte’s overriding goal of accelerating infrastructure development in order to spur high growth, attract investments, create jobs and achieve financial inclusion for all Filipinos,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said President Duterte put his signature project “Build, Build, Build” back on the fast track amid the COVID-19 pandemic, given that infrastructure investments spell the highest multiplier effect on the economy, particularly the creation of jobs that will make up for the ones lost during this global health emergency.
“Such financial support from the country’s development partners like AFD for our priority programs is crucial at this time when the Philippine government is embarking on its resources-intensive, four-pillar strategy to suppress the coronavirus outbreak and provide relief to our most affected sectors while restarting the stalled economy to a quick recovery from the global economic slump induced by the lethal virus,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ADB approved a $26.5-million (P1.325-billion) loan to help local government units boost revenue by adopting new digital tools for local real property tax valuation and collection.
The bank said in a statement the Local Governance Reform Project would help LGUs improve real property tax collection by strengthening property valuation mechanisms, introducing new digital tools for transparent and accurate reporting and updating tax maps and property valuation assessments.
It will also help LGUs build a cadre of competent, professional local assessors through capacity development and knowledge partnerships.
“Local governments play a critical role in poverty reduction. Mobilizing local revenue in an efficient, equitable, and transparent manner is vital to local governments’ goal of delivering accessible, quality public services,” said ADB senior public management specialist for Southeast Asia Robert Boothe.
“This new project will provide the digital tools, systems, and local staff training needed to help local governments raise revenue,” he said.