International Finance Corp., the investment arm of the World Bank, said Tuesday it is ready to allocate up to about $700 million in the form of investments in the Philippines.
IFC director for East Asia and the Pacific Vivek Pathak told reporters in the Public-Private Partnership forum in Makati the institution was prepared to allocate about $500 million to $700 million in investment equity in various sectors in the Philippines.
Pathak said IFC had not placed a ceiling on investments.
“We allocate funds depending on the needs. We can always allocate $500 to $700 million a year depending on the project that come up. We look at opportunities and investment opportunities. We don’t see that cap as a constraining factor,” Pathak said.
Pathak said the Philippine government should ensure continued continuity of the PPP program to keep its position as a regional leader in private sector engagement.
“The Philippines has been a model for how to use public-private partnerships, or PPPs, to leverage the extensive expertise and resources of the private sector to meet the country’s growing infrastructure needs,” Pathak said. “By building on what it has already achieved, the Philippines can accomplish even more.”
Pathak said the Philippines had been a leader in PPPs in Asia due to the high level of private sector participation and effective tapping of private funding for infrastructure.
He said institutionalizing the country’s PPP Center as a permanent agency, along with ensuring fairness and transparency in PPP projects—from planning, procurement and award to implementation—will provide significant long-term benefits to the government private sector partners, and the public.
“Fairness and transparency attracts more private sector firms to participate in PPP projects”, said Pathak. “More participation leads to competition and helps achieve better bids and more equitable terms for the government and the public.”
Psthak said the Philippines should focus on developing other sectors such as leisure, medical tourism and tourism.
“The Philippines probably has better potential than a lot of other countries in the Asia and the Pacific. Infrastructure can further improve connectivity. I think the private sector is willing to invest i tourism here and that is a lot of job opportunity,” he said.
IFC acted as transaction adviser on two PPP projects awarded under President Aquino’s administration. The NAIA Expressway (Phase II) Project for the Department of Public Works and Highways is nearing completion, while the concessionaire of the LRT 1 Cavite Extension and Operations and Maintenance Project signed a P24-billion loan agreement on February 12, reaching financial closure in a relatively short period considering the size and complexity of the project.
Pathak cited the Philippine government and the PPP Center under executive director Cosette Canilao for awarding 12 projects worth P197 billion, or around $4.2 billion, with another 16 projects worth P623 billion under procurement.