Foreign loans, grants for pandemic response hit $9.9B

DoF main office
The DoF main office at Roxas Boulevard — BW FILE PHOTO

THE GOVERNMENT has obtained $9.9 billion worth of loans and grants from external sources as of Sept. 15 to fund its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) containment effort and to support recovery measures.

“With our historically high credit ratings, we quickly accessed emergency financing from our development partners and the commercial markets at very low rates, tight spreads, and longer repayment periods. To date, the DoF has secured financing support of $9.9 billion,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said at a Senate budget briefing Wednesday.

His presentation indicated that the Asian Development Bank provided $3.8 billion in financial assistance. The next-largest source of foreign funding was the March issue of dollar bonds worth $2.35 billion.

The World Bank provided $1.2 billion, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency $917 million.

“Our strong fiscal position gave us the headroom to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic… The DoF has ensured that we have sufficient funds to fight the pandemic and meet the challenge of recovery,” Mr. Dominguez added.

He said government borrowings will help it plug the gap from the shortfall in revenue with the economic downturn resulting in lower collections.

Total tax collections dropped 11.59% to P1.661 trillion in the eight months to August.

The government plans to borrow P3 trillion from domestic and foreign sources to close the funding gap, which is expected to be equivalent to 9.6% of gross domestic product. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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