The new administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is seeking a $300 million loan from the World Bank to fund a digital transformation program.
That brings the total amount of low-interest concessional loans to be sought under Marcos Jr.’s plan to $2.14 billion so far, according to Inquirer.
The last loan is expected to be approved in fiscal year 2024, which begins in July next year.
World Bank documents showed that the first proposed Digital Transformation Development Policy Funding in the Philippines aims to catalyze “private investment for inclusive economic recovery through digital transformation.”
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno had proposed bolstering government revenue by improving tax administration through digitalization, to bring the budget deficit down to pre-pandemic levels equivalent to around 3% of gross domestic product. 2028.
However, Marcos Jr. and his chief economic director were not in favor of new or higher taxes, which former President Duterte’s economic team had proposed in order to pay off debts incurred during the ongoing pandemic and to reduce the record deficit caused by large public expenditures to fight against COVID-19.
Documents from last May showed that in December the World Bank would lend the Philippines $200 million for the second financing of the Financial Sector Reform Development Policy aimed at “achieving a resilient, inclusive and sustainable financial sector”. .
Earlier, the World Bank canceled a $64 million (3.5 billion peso) loan for the Manila Metro Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Line 1 project, three years after agreeing to disburse the funds .
According to local media, the World Bank noted that with less than six months until the project’s closing date and given the lack of progress in implementation, “an extension cannot be justified”.
This was after a Washington-based multilateral lender approved the Philippines’ request for a $178.1 million loan aimed at addressing malnutrition and stunting in the country.
The World Bank also said millions of Filipinos in vulnerable households and businesses have been lifted out of poverty thanks to the government’s “Bayanihan” stimulus packages.
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