Philippines to revise ‘Build, Build, Build’ plan to make it more achievable

President Rodrigo Duterte’s government has promised to usher in a ‘golden age of infrastructure’ with its ambitious six-year, $180 billion ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. (AFP)
Updated 25 October 2019

Philippines to revise ‘Build, Build, Build’ plan to make it more achievable

  • President Rodrigo Duterte’s government has promised to usher in a ‘golden age of infrastructure’
  • But its plan has hit snags, the most recent of which is the delay in the approval of this year’s budget

MANILA: The Philippines is carrying out an inventory of infrastructure projects under its ambitious six-year, $180 billion “Build, Build, Build” program to come up with a more realistic list of projects.
Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the government was “trimming” the list of 75 flagship projects it had promised to deliver or at least start and “substituting with others more economically feasible and doable.”
President Rodrigo Duterte’s government has promised to usher in a “golden age of infrastructure” by building and modernizing airports and ports, and lifting economic growth in the country of more than 107 million people.
But its plan has hit snags, the most recent of which is the delay in the approval of this year’s budget, forcing economic managers to trim their growth target for this year to 6 percent to 7 percent from 7 percent to 8 percent.
In a separate media briefing on Friday, Pernia said the revised list could even reach 100 projects as they replace big ones with many smaller but “game-changing projects” like roads, bridges and irrigation systems that will benefit provinces not included in the original list.
Pernia said the government has struck three long-bridge projects costing 161 billion pesos ($3.14 billion) off the original list because they are “not economically viable” and tough to build because the technology is not yet available.
Not all of the projects in the revised list, which will be released next week, will be finished during Duterte’s term, but “half of the 100 will be either completed or started, that is for sure,” Pernia said. Duterte’s six-year term ends in 2022.
The government has planned to finance the projects through its budget, official development assistance, private sector funds and loans.
ING economist Nicholas Mapa said the scaled-down plan should still give the economy a boost.
“Regardless of scale and scope, chasing the golden age of infrastructure will go a long way to helping clear out the decades-long backlog of infra development, and this should be growth-positive both in the near term and medium term as our productive capacity increases,” Mapa said.


France heading for worst recession since WWII: minister

Updated 06 April 2020

France heading for worst recession since WWII: minister

  • France imposed a nationwide stay-at-home order from March 17 after shuttering all nonessential businesses
  • Statistics office Insee said last month that the lockdown has slashed overall economic activity by 35 percent

PARIS: France is likely to see its deepest recession since the end of World War II this year because of the coronavirus crisis, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned Monday.
“The worst growth figure in France since 1945 was -2.2 percent in 2009, after the financial crisis of 2008. We will probably be very far beyond -2.2 percent” this year, Le Maire told a Senate panel.
“It’s an indication of the amplitude of the economic shock we’re facing,” he said.
France imposed a nationwide stay-at-home order from March 17 after shuttering all nonessential businesses. Officials have said the lockdown will last until at least April 15.
Statistics office Insee said last month that the lockdown has slashed overall economic activity by 35 percent, and estimated every month of shutdown would cut annual GPD by three percentage points.
Services, heavy industry and construction are all taking big hits, Insee said, as factories are shut and only a handful of business sectors, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, remain open.
A wave of French blue-chip companies have abandoned their profitability targets for the year, while employers’ associations have warned that hundreds of smaller firms and shops risk bankruptcy.
The government has pledged 45 billion euros ($49 billion) in loan guarantees and other relief to help companies get through the crisis.

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