Government kicks off P2.3T infrastructure projects
Even before the controversial TRAIN left the station, the Duterte administration has already started implementing 60 infrastructure projects worth P2.3 trillion, Finance Undersecretary and Chief Economist Gil Beltran said Monday.
Of the 60 projects, 10 were inherited from the Aquino administration while the other 50 were under the government of President Duterte.
These projects were already fully-funded with money coming from official development assistance, which has lower interest rates and longer repayment period, from multi-lateral lenders such as the ADB, JBIC, World Bank, AIIB, and bilateral creditors such as Japan, China, South Korea, among others. Other sources of funds would come from the budgets of the national government, local government units, as well as government-owned corporations.
Still, the government needs the additional revenues from the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion Act or TRAIN, which took effect at the start of the year, estimated at P130 billion, Beltran said in an interview with Bilyonaryo.
“We need the TRAIN so that we could further increase our infrastructure spending to 7 percent of GDP from 5 percent,” Beltran said. “The additional 2 percentage points would be funded by the TRAIN.”
The Duterte administration has promised to build more roads, highways, bridges, airports and other infrastructure facilities under its “Build, Build, Build” program that aims to bring back the so-called “Golden Age of Infrastructure” in the Philippines.
Businessmen and investors have been asking the government for decades to address infrastructure bottlenecks to solve several problems such as traffic, airport congestion, pollution, among others that add into the cost of doing business in the country.
The government hopes that the higher infrastructure spending will create more jobs, reduce poverty and sustain the economic growth, already one of the highest in the Asian region. (Jun Ebias)