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Saturday, December 9, 2023

World bank cancels, recasts $315-M Covid-19 loans

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THE World Bank approved the Philippine government’s request to cancel and restructure the three loan agreements for the Covid-19 Emergency Response Project.

In a letter to Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand Ndiame Diop said that $314.82 million worth of loans were cancelled and another loan’s closing date was extended.

The amount covered a $300-million loan for the program as well as $14.82 million unused in another loan with a total amount of $500 million. The closing date for another loan for the same project was extended to December 29, 2024 from December 31, 2023.

“This amendment letter shall become effective as of the later date of the Bank’s receipt of a duly countersigned original of this letter by the authorized representative of the Borrower; except for the extension of the Closing Date under subparagraph [A] above, which shall become effective upon dispatch of this amendment letter to the Borrower, and for the cancellation under sub-paragraphs [B] and [C] above, which shall become effective as of September 15, 2023,” Diop said.

Diokno, who is the authorized representative of the national government, has already confirmed the agreements and signed the document last October 31, 2023.

The Covid-19 Emergency Response Project was created to strengthen the country’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the pandemic as well as strengthen national systems for public health preparedness.

In 2022, the Philippines received a total of $32.4 billion worth of Official Development Assistance (ODA), according to a report released by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) emerged as the leading provider of ODA in the country, surpassing Japan, which held the top position for the preceding seven consecutive years.

ODA provided by ADB accounts for 33.47 percent share or $10.85 billion of the active ODA portfolio in 2022. Moreover, ADB has also taken the lead in terms of new commitments in 2022, with a total of $2.51 billion.

Japan secured the second spot with 30.75 percent or $9.96 billion, followed by the World Bank with $6.86 billion; China, $0.98 billion; and Korea, $0.91 billion.

ODA from ADB, Japan and the World Bank registered the highest disbursement levels in 2022 with $2.11 billion, $1.29 billion and $1.27 billion, respectively.

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