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Investors for infra projects eyed

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:07 AM June 25, 2019

The Philippines will showcase its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program in a bid to attract more investors during the fourth annual meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) next month.

The 2019 AIIB meeting in Luxembourg on July 12-13—the first time that a member-country outside Asia will be the venue of the yearly gathering—will host the Asian Infrastructure Forum (AIF), “a business development forum on creating connections and developing project pipelines,” the Beijing-based multilateral lender said in a statement.

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“This year’s forum will involve interactive workshops on private equity investments, financing for energy projects and AIIB procurement policies and practices. Investment opportunities in Bangladesh, the Philippines and Uzbekistan will also be presented by official delegations,” the AIIB said.

For the Philippine government, Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Undersecretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua of the Department of Finance will discuss the role of policy reforms including tax reform and agricultural tariffs in support of infrastructure development, it said.

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Dominguez represents the Philippines in the AIIB’s board of governors.

To date, the AIIB has extended to the Philippines just one loan—$500 million approved in 2017 for the Metro Manila Flood Management Project, which it cofinanced with the Washington-based World Bank.

Moving forward, Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven said the Philippines was looking at tapping financing for four more big-ticket infrastructure—two roads and two water projects—from the AIIB.

Last year, the DOF said the AIIB was considering to extend loans for the Camarines Sur Expressway (San Fernando-Pili Section) and the Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Coastal Highway, both in Camarines Sur province.

In a report in January, the AIIB noted that “infrastructure construction activity in the Philippines looks likely to increase, driven by the government’s state utilities” even as risks included the government’s tendency to underspend, high inflation and a weak peso seen driving construction costs upward.

Under Build, Build, Build, the government will roll out 75 flagship projects—with about a third expected to be completed during President Duterte’s term, in order to usher in a “golden age of infrastructure” by 2022.

Meanwhile, participants to the AIF can also join the Infrastructure Fund Showcase wherein “preselected infrastructure fund projects will be evaluated by AIIB experts in front of a live audience,” the AIIB said.

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The AIF and other high-level seminars at the AIIB meeting are aimed at showcasing the benefits of stronger Asia-Europe cooperation and connectivity, the lender said.

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