SEVEN flagship projects are lined up for approval by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) today.
NEDA Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan said in a text message that the tentative list of the projects for approval includes: the Official Development Assistance-funded Estrella-Pantaleon and Binondo-Intramuros “priority bridges” traversing the Pasig river worth P1.2 billion and P2.3 billion, respectively; and the $100-million (P5 billion) Asian Development Bank (ADB)-financed Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility.
The cost adjustment for the $141-million Cebu bus rapid transit is also on the agenda for approval, as well as the Philippine Coast Guard Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter procurement exercise, and the Mindanao Road Sector Project, but their costs and financing have yet to be determined.
The ICC is also expected to approve the validity extension of the ADB Road Improvement Project that has not been implemented since it was first approved. The project has exceeded the 18-month ICC approval validity.
Mr. Tungpalan said that the project costs may change during the meeting.
The ICC evaluates the fiscal, monetary and balance of payments implications of the projects, and makes recommendations to the NEDA Board, which is chaired by the President.
The ICC Cabinet Committee is composed of nine Cabinet members, while the NEDA Board is composed of 22 members, including the President as chairman and the NEDA secretary as vice-chair.
Since the new administration took over in June 2016, the NEDA Board has approved 18 infrastructure projects worth P462.74 billion that are deemed ready for implementation.
Those that are pending with the ICC technical board and Cabinet clusters as of end-June total 55 projects worth P831.44 billion.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia has said that the government plans to prioritize the approval of infrastructure projects which can be finished within the President’s term.
The government plans to raise infrastructure and social spending to about 7.1% of gross domestic product, or P8.4 trillion, until the end of its term.
This is an effort to boost the economy to 7-8% growth next year until 2022 from 6.9% in 2016, and slash poverty incidence to 13-15% from 21.6% in 2015. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan