The Department of Finance (DOF) is seeking to generate at least $23 billion in funds from external sources this year to help finance the government’s national budget and fund priority projects.
Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven said that of the $23.71 billion (about P1.13 trillion), about $8.06 billion (34 percent) will be sourced to support the government’s budget this year, and $15.65 billion (66 percent) will be utilized for project financing.
The DOF is carrying out the aggressive raising of funds from abroad as the country’s debt-to-gross domestic product ratio was recorded at 54.5 percent at the end of 2020, which is still below the 60-percent acceptable level.
“We are planning to source a total of $7.67 billion in loans and grants from multilateral institutions, $10.54 billion from our bilateral partners; and raise $5.5 billion from the commercial markets this year,” Joven was quoted as saying in his report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd.
Last year, the DOF generated at least $17.06 billion (about P819 billion) in “affordable financing” last year for key infrastructure projects and other priority programs, and help provide more funding for the government’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Of the total, $7.73 billion or 45.3 percent was raised from multilateral lenders, $2.86 billion (16.7 percent) from the Philippines’ bilateral partners, and $6.47 billion (37.9 percent) from commercial markets.
“Out of the total external financing contracted in 2020, around $15.44 billion is for the emergency requirements for our Covid-19 response, while the remaining $1.62 billion is for other initiatives including Build, Build, Build infrastructure projects,” Joven said.
“Because of a higher emergency funding requirement in light of Covid-19, the amount of external financing contracted in 2020 increased by 75.43 percent year-on-year. This also represents an overall 33-percent expansion of the external borrowing program from 2016 to 2020,” he added.
The DOF has also maintained that when it secures loans, it has a preference for “cheaper and multilateral loans.”
“The government has consistently availed debt for budget support, recognizing that program loans and global bonds provide more flexibility in terms of utilization,” he said.