The government said Thursday it will prioritize 92 infrastructure projects with a combined cost of P4.1 trillion until 2022, but shelved eight projects worth P370 billion.
Bases Conversion Development Authority president and presidential adviser on flagship projects Vincent Dizon said the government dropped P370 billion worth of infrastructure projects to give way to the COVID-19 response program.
“We have shelved eight projects, which were primarily in the feasibility study phase. And we have replaced them with other projects that prioritize health care, ICT and water. These are the three priority projects that we have added to the program,” Dizon said Thursday during the “Outlook for Build, Build, Build, Program” webinar organized by the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce Inc.
He said the government was already cash-strapped and continued to grapple for any potential source of finance that would complement efforts to contain the pandemic.
“Yes, there are difficulties in funding primarily because we had to realign a lot of the funding for 2020 to the COVID-19 response. So a lot of the projects, even those infrastructure projects have been reallocated. However, the reallocations for infrastructure were minimal, even for 2020. We will just have to allocate more funding for infrastructure for local projects in 2021 and 2022 in order to catch up,” he said.
The reallocated budget for infrastructure under the “Build, Build, Build” program was repurposed to accommodate 13 new projects in information and communication technology, water, transportation and health to beef up the response system to the pandemic.
Dizon said the country’s very strong credit rating had allowed the government to increase future financing for the projects either through local or foreign borrowings.
“So our debt to GDP ratio of 40 percent coming into COVID-19 has really worked wonders for our ability to raise financing both domestically and from abroad,” he said.
The government also realigned 29 other projects to the public-private-partnership program, he said.
Dizon said that by realigning the budget for the 29 projects, the government would be able to free up more funds for COVID-19 response.
He said while there are still a lot of PPP projects, most of them are from the transport and mobility sector.
“Out of those total projects, roughly 76 are already in the implementation phase which are either in the construction phase, or in the pre-construction phase and mostly right-of-away acquisition, detailed architecture and engineering as well as the clearing and reconstruction activities,” Dizon said.
About 24 projects are in the latter stages of government approval.
The government expects to generate a million jobs through these projects by 2022.