Tuesday, 20 January 2009

P100-b pool lists 9 projects

By Elaine Ramos Alanguilan
The Manila Standard
http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=business1_jan19_2009

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has trimmed to nine the list of infrastructure projects that will be funded by the proposed P100-billion private-public partnership fund.

Edgardo Lacson, president of PCCI, told reporters that the projects included the proposed central station for the rail transit systems in Metro Manila, the extension of the North Luzon Expressway to Baguio City, a road connecting the STAR Tollway to the South Luzon Expressway and its rehabilitation.

“With the crisis at hand, what is important now is economic pump-priming. We have already identified nine projects that would benefit from the P100-billion private and public funding, the question now is which among those projects must be implemented first,” Lacson told reporters at the sidelines of a recent meeting of various business groups.

He said the proposed central terminal linking all the rail systems in Metro Manila would be located near the Trinoma Mall in Quezon City. The project is expected to cost less than P1 billion.

The rehabilitation and extension of the SLEX to connect with the STAR Tollway is another project that is being seriously considered by the PCCI.

“With government willing to extend sovereign guaranty, we from the private sector can already commit to partially finance these projects,” said Lacson.

Four government financial institutions, namely Land Bank of the Philippines, the Social Security System, the Government Service Insurance System and Development Bank of the Philippines earlier committed to put in P12.5 billion each as government counterpart in the proposed P100-billion fund.

The private sector, which proposed the fund, has not yet come up with a firm commitment pending sovereign guaranty on the projects. Lacson said the counterpart fund from the private sector would come from private banks and consortia.

“We can start on the implementation of these projects within the first quarter of the year. We will make use of the seed capital from the [government financial institutions] to jump-start these projects and then funding from the private sector would follow suit,” said Lacson.

The short-listed projects are divided into major components—rail-based, toll roads, ports and airport terminals.

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