June 05, 2020 at 08:40 pm
Julito G. Rada
The government and the Manila-based Asian Development Bank signed a $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 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The loan for the Support to Capital Market Generated Infrastructure Financing, Subprogram 1 (SCMGIF1) is set for accelerated disbursement this month to help support the immediate financing requirements of the government arising from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Friday.
Dominguez and ADB country director for the Philippines Kelly Bird signed the loan agreement on Thursday.
The DOF said the loan was 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 projects at lower relative costs, and enabling the private sector to fund infrastructure through the capital markets.
“We again thank the ADB for its continued strong support to the Philippines as it grapples with the coronavirus scourge, this time by extending financial assistance to strengthen domestic capital markets
as the country clears the path to a quick recovery from the havoc wrought on the global economy by this lethal virus,” Dominguez said.
ADB vice president Ahmed Saeed said 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 said.
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 3-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.