The Philippines will present plans to tap Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) proposed $5-billion COVID-19 crisis recovery financing, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said on Friday (April 3).

The Beijing-based multilateral lender, in a statement, said it had pitched to its board of directors the setting up of a “crisis recovery facility in response to urgent economic, financial and public health pressures and to support a quick recovery after the current crisis,” referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initial $5 billion facility will be made available to both governments and private sector entities suffering from after-effects of the ongoing health crisis.

“This is a very welcome initiative from the AIIB,” said Dominguez.

“We will definitely present to them our plans for combating the contagion and for the long-term strengthening of our health care system,” he said.

Last week, Dominguez also expressed interest in the AIIB’s pitch to finance more health infrastructure across the region for better response to pandemics similar to COVID-19, which started in China.

Dominguez had said the AIIB’s health care infrastructure program will be evaluated by two departments—his and health.

The AIIB could offer its new crisis recovery facility in the next 18 months for qualified projects of member-countries.

The Philippines became a last-minute founding member of the AIIB in 2015, as then finance secretary Cesar V. Purisima secured former president Benigno S.C. Aquino III’s approval just a couple of days before deadline.

“The size of the facility could be increased depending on client demand,” the lender said.

It said it was also exploring ways to finance project preparations by members, specially low-income countries, with economies hurting from the impact of COVID-19.

“The facility could support emergency public health needs,” the AIIB said.

“It could also provide the financing needed to preserve the productive capacity of other productive sectors, including manufacturing, that have been hit by COVID-19,” the lender said.

“A well-managed and robust development institution must be nimble enough to deal with external shocks,” said Jin Liqun, AIIB chair and president.

It should be “responsive enough to adapt to the changing needs of its clients,” Liqun said.

“The international community needs to come together to pool our resources to help the world navigate the current pandemic and economic upheaval,” he added.

“The AIIB is committed to playing its full part,” he said.

Edited by TSB


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