THE Philippines and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a US$400 million loan agreement that aims to support the government’s efforts to strengthen domestic capital markets as the country recovers from the economic fallout triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This loan for the Support to Capital Market Generated Infrastructure Financing, Subprogram 1 is set for accelerated disbursement this June to help support the immediate financing requirements of the government arising from the negative impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and ADB country director for the Philippines Kelly Bird signed the loan agreement on Thursday, June 4.
According to the DOF, the loan is a budget-support package to assist the government’s external financing requirements for this year.
The loan is expected to boost the domestic capital markets’ capability to increase the supply of long-term finance to support investments by allowing the government to fund infrastructure at lower relative costs; and enabling the private sector to fund infrastructure through the capital markets.
Latest funding package ADB vice president Ahmed Saeed said upon the approval of the ADB loan that, “By developing domestic capital markets, funds are generated to support higher levels of long-term investments and sustainable quality job creation.”
“This program will support the Philippine government’s development goals, including its response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Saeed added.
The $400 million loan is the latest funding package extended by the ADB to the Philippines so far this year.
The Manila-based multilateral lender earlier signed a $1.5 billion loan accord with the Philippines for the Covid-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Program and the agreement for the $200 million second additional financing for the Social Protection Support Project, which brings the total lending package to the Philippines to $2.1 billion thus far this year.
The DOF said the capital market development program funded by the $400 million loan recognized the government’s efforts on three reform areas—strategic oversight and enabling environment, liquidity, transparency and price discovery in the government bond market and institutional participation in the capital markets.
With a maturity period of 15 years inclusive of a three-year grace period, the $400 million loan is expected to be effective by June 10 and be fully disbursed by June 15.
According to the ADB, “the capital markets development program has supported various reforms in recent years, including the launch and implementation of the first government-led, comprehensive domestic bond market development plan.”
“The Philippines also has modernized its government debt trading infrastructure and provided a reliable yield curve to support the pricing of private sector debt instruments,” the ADB added.
Other assistance The ADB was among the first multilateral development institutions to provide assistance to the Philippines’ Covid-19 response efforts with its delivery of a $3 million grant for the government’s purchase of medical supplies for health workers last March.
It has also provided an emergency grant of $5 million last April for the Philippines to leverage private-sector donations for a food distribution program that has benefited 55,000 poor households in Metro Manila and neighboring areas. / PR