PH raises to $500M requested loan from WB for advance vaccine payments

By: Ben O. de Vera - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ - Inquirer.net | February 04,2021 - 07:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has further raised to $500 million (about P24 billion) the loan it is requesting from the World Bank for coronavirus vaccines as more funds were needed to pay vaccine makers at least half in advance.

Documents seen by the Inquirer showed that from $300 million in December 2020 and $400 million last January, the project cost for additional financing for the COVID-19 emergency response project again rose to half-a-billion dollars this month.

The Inquirer sought confirmation from Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven, who said the Department of Finance (DOF) will provide information after it had secured approvals for various loan applications.

Joven echoed the amount of loans mentioned by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III last January—some $1.3 billion in total financing from the Washington-based World Bank, the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

At about P62.5 billion, foreign loans could be a major source of funds for P70 billion in unprogrammed appropriations in the 2021 national budget that had been set aside for the vaccination program.

Unprogrammed appropriations are funded by foreign borrowings and excess revenues.

For 2021, the government planned to spend P82.5 billion on mass vaccination, including P2.5 billion in the Department of Health’s (DOH) budget plus P10 billion in continuing appropriations from the 2020 budget under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 Law, whose validity was extended until June 2021.

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TAGS: Finance Undersecretary, Joven, loan, Philippines, vaccine payments, WB, World Bank

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