Gov’t to prioritize AIIB bid
The government is fast-tracking moves to secure Senate ratification of the country’s membership in China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Wednesday.
In fact, Dominguez said the President’s certification of ratification of the Philippines’ membership in AIIB would be transmitted to the Senate in the next few days. “Both the Department of Finance and the Department of Foreign Affairs have made strong recommendations to the Office of the President” with regards the AIIB membership, Dominguez told legislators belonging to the Commission on Appointments.
The country’s AIIB membership is pending Senate ratification.
“The AIIB is another source of long-term funding at very reasonable interest rates… It is ready to fund infrastructure projects in the Philippines,” Dominguez said.
National Treasurer Roberto B. Tan earlier said the projects to be financed by the AIIB would be identified by the National Economic and Development Authority’s Investment Coordination Committee.
The government also allocated P4 billion in the proposed P3.35-trillion 2017 national budget for the country’s paid-up capital to be remitted to the AIIB. The country’s contribution this year, according to the Department of Budget and Management, can be paid out of the P4-billion contingency fund in the 2016 budget.
On Dec. 31 last year—only a day before the deadline—the Philippines announced it would become a founding member of the AIIB, which aims to finance developing countries’ infrastructure needs.
Pundits say the AIIB is seen to rival other multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and the Manila-based ADB, which are being led by the US and Japan, respectively.
As for the potential meetings in China, Dominguez said: “I have just arrived from Washington so I have not looked at the entire list yet, but I’m sure there are many.”
The finance secretary attended last week’s meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Bank.
In case the Chinese government wanted to finance infrastructure projects, Dominguez said the funds would have to be matched with the priority infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration.
Last Tuesday, Tan said the pivot to China would open up new sources of funding.
Tan said financing from China would most likely be in the form of official credits or government-to-government, with proposals already pitched by Chinese officials to the Philippine government for possible financing.