NEDA eyes approval of 18 more infra projects this year

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2017 05:00 PM | Updated as of Jul 07 2017 09:47 AM

MANILA - The National Economic and Development Authority on Thursday said it was eyeing the approval of 18 more big infrastructure projects before the year ends.

If the NEDA succeeds, it will cover half of the 75 priority projects of the Duterte administration. It had approved 18 others since last year.

The Duterte has adopted a "hybrid" approach to infrastructure funding, which includes tapping foreign loans or official development assistance.

Relying solely on private funding, which was done under the previous administration, will take longer, Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.

"The thing about PPPs is that they have to be not only economically justifiable, but they have to also be financially solid, in terms of return of rates," Pernia said, referring to the public-private partnership program.

"Otherwise, no private sector investor would want to do it. That's one reason why it takes longer for PPPs to process because of financial considerations," he said.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno added that this model would also cost more because private sectors need to make profits. Official development assistance carry low interest with payment terms that could stretch for years, he added.