Duterte administration to seek loan from AIIB for infrastructure projects

The Duterte government is gearing up for the Philippines to formally join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in time for President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Beijing this week, The Philippines Inquirer Online reported on Monday.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said membership in the AIIB which requires the ratification of the Senate would unlock financing potential for the long pipeline of infrastructure projects Duterte hopes to build during his term in the office.

Dominguez said the government was expected to spend altogether P8 trillion on infrastructure projects during Duterte’s 6-year term.

The finance secretary has already discussed with Senate president Senator Alan Peter Cayetano about the ratification of the treaty to join the AIIB membership.

He said the administration was in the process of implementing a major rethink of the public private partnership (PPP) programme – the economic centerpiece of the previous administration which was criticized for its turtle-paced implementation of critical infrastructure projects.

Dominguez said the past administration used to use the PPP to raise money by charging (an upfront fee from prospective private sector partners). “Frankly, I don’t think that is fair because that is like taxation without representation.”

The finance secretary also accused the previous administration of using incorrect borrowing costs scenarios for evaluating PPP projects, including the assumption that private sector firms would be able to fund infrastructure projects cheaper because of efficiency considerations.