July 19, 2018

The government’s capability to implement foreign-assisted programs and projects has improved in 2017 on account of implementing agencies’ better financial performance, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

According to NEDA’s 2017 Official Development Assistance (ODA) Portfolio Review Report, all indicators of the government’s absorptive capacity for ODA loans— disbursement level, disbursement rate, availment rate and disbursement ratio – showed improvement in 2017 as compared to 2016.

From USD1.25 billion in 2016, the disbursement level of ODA loans, or the amount of actual draw-downs from loan proceeds in 2017, increased by 11.5 percent to USD1.40 billion in 2017. Disbursement rate, or the actual disbursement level as a percentage of target disbursement for the period, was at 67.21 percent, an increase from the previous year’s 61.12 percent.

The availment rate increased by 6 percent to 71.50 percent. This is the cumulative actual disbursements as a percentage of cumulative scheduled disbursement, both reckoned from the start of implementation up to the reporting period. The disbursement ratio—or the ratio of actual disbursements for a given year to the loan balance available at the beginning of that year inclusive of newly effective loans—increased to 16.66 percent, an increase of 29 percent from the previous year.

“This means implementing agencies are improving their technical capacities and making headway in resolving key issues that cause delays in the execution of programs and projects,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

The Philippines’ total outstanding ODA portfolio for the full year of 2017 reached USD14.72 billion, constituting 352 grants amounting to USD 2.42 billion and 70 loans amounting to USD 12.30 billion, the NEDA’s report says.

The infrastructure sector continued to receive the largest share of the total ODA at USD 6.62 billion, accounting for 45 percent of the total amount, followed by social reform and community development at 26.11 percent.

Meanwhile, Japan remained the top provider of ODA to the Philippines in 2017. Its loans and grants for 2017 stood at USD5.33 billion, accounting for 36.18 percent of the country’s total ODA portfolio.

It was followed by the World Bank with USD3.07 billion (20.88%) and the Asian Development Bank with USD2.97 billion (20.16%).

Of the total 407 projects and programs assisted by ODA loans and grants, 271 projects (66.58%) were on schedule while 79 (19.41%) were completed. Fifty-two projects (13%), on the other hand, were behind schedule while five (1%) were closed with incomplete outputs.

“We are grateful for all the foreign assistance in the form of grants and loans that we received from our development partners last year. The government’s constant role is to make the most out of these to bring positive impact to the people’s lives and realize our collective development goals as a nation,” Pernia said.