Saturday, 21 August 2010

Govt eyes initial $10b for infrastructure projects

by Elaine R. Alanguilan
Manila Standard

The Aquino administration is looking at initially raising $10 billion in “cheap” funds to finance key infrastructure projects through a partnership with the private sector.

Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said Friday the amount should be enough to jump-start the government’s infrastructure program.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the government was now working with various multilateral agencies to create a pool of cheap and longer maturity peso-denominated funds.

He said the type of financing would be made available to infrastructure project proponents to lure the private sector. He said part of the amount would be used to finance expenditures of proponents, like right-of-way costs.

Purisima earlier said the government would release the final list of projects in October.

The projects being lined up in the program are those that will support tourism and the food supply chain of the country and general infrastructure.

“One thing we realized it there’s a lot of money out there that’s available to be invested in infrastructure. In fact, they were saying that US [companies] are sitting on over a trillion dollars in uninvested cash because they are not sure with the future of the US economy and they’re actually looking at Asia to start deploying those funds,” said Purisima.

The government said it would identify two to three projects that it wanted to take off within the year.

Deputy director-general Rolando Tungpalan of the National Economic and Development Authority said the projects that the agency would endorse to the Cabinet were ready to go, or pre-processed, to make them more attractive to investors.

He said the government had identified and resolved bottlenecks that could delay the project from taking off.

“We will be guided by the President’s policy pronouncements. We are working on that timeline [within the month]. We are still working on the list, we just don’t want to give out projects that still have bottlenecks. If there are, we want to unplug them before they are pushed,” said Tungpalan.

Meanwhile, the Finance Department is creating an inter-agency task force that will oversee government-owned and -controlled corporations.

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