Recto secures commitments from ADB

Recto secures commitments from ADB

Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto has secured commitments from Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa to support key priority development programs for the Philippines, focusing on boosting digitalization, improving human capital and infrastructure, and enhancing disaster preparedness. 

In a high-level meeting with the ADB and the country’s economic managers on April 17, 2024, President Asakawa said the above key strategic priorities will be reflected and aligned in its upcoming Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the Philippines.

Secretary Recto welcomed the said key areas and emphasized that they encapsulate the development priorities of the Marcos, Jr. administration. 

He also expressed enthusiasm in continuing closer cooperation with the ADB team as the CPS is being finalized.

The Finance Chief sought more support from the ADB for the government’s digitalization program to improve tax collection efficiency, especially now that a fourth of Filipino consumers have moved to e-commerce.

He emphasized that slow adaptation to digitalization amidst the rising e-commerce would result in an immense potential revenue leakage.

To this end, the ADB has committed to closely work with the Philippine government on a proposed Digital Transformation Project for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) as part of the Bank’s long-standing support on the country’s tax reform initiatives and domestic resource mobilization efforts.

Meanwhile, he urged the Bank to increase its assistance in strengthening the country’s human capital development, particularly in education and nutrition programs to uplift the quality of life of every Filipino.

With the recent enactment of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code, the Finance Chief also encouraged the ADB to help the country attract more investors for its flagship infrastructure projects, especially in power and physical and digital connectivity, to boost competitiveness. 

He likewise called for strengthened collaboration in harnessing renewable energy resources to accelerate the Philippines’ transition to clean energy.

The Department of Finance (DOF) also conveyed and sought the Bank’s support for the Philippines’ bid to host the Loss and Damage Fund (LDF)---a global climate fund established in November  2023 under the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

Overall, ADB President Asakawa reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to strengthening its strong partnership with the Philippines as it heads towards becoming an upper-middle-income country.

As of December 31, 2023, the ADB is the Philippines’ second-largest official development assistance (ODA) partner with a total ODA commitment of USD 11.40 billion. 

Since the start of the Marcos, Jr. administration, a total of around USD 4.48 billion in ODA loan financing has been secured from the ADB for priority programs and projects for business and employment, agriculture, inclusive finance, domestic resource mobilization, and infrastructure development. 

This is complemented by a strong grant and technical assistance programs for the conduct of studies, project preparation, project implementation and capacity building activities.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the WB-IMF Spring Meetings from April 15 to 21, 2024 in Washington, D.C.

Joining the meeting on the ADB side were Vice President of Southeast Asia Operations Scott Morris; General Counsel Tom Clark; Director General for Strategy, Policy and Partnerships Department Tomo Kimura; and Chief Advisor to the President Haruto Takimura.

Meanwhile, Secretary Recto was accompanied by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman during the meeting.

He was also joined by the DOF team namely Chief-of-Staff and Undersecretary Maria Luwalhati Dorotan Tiuseco; Undersecretary Joven Balbosa; National Treasurer Sharon Almanza; Chief Economic Counselor Domini Velasquez; WBG Alternate Executive Director (AED) Erwin Sta. Ana; and OIC Assistant Secretary Donalyn Minimo. PR


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