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

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

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.


UK economy shrinks by 2.6% in November, first drop since April

UK economy shrinks by 2.6% in November, first drop since April
Updated 15 January 2021

UK economy shrinks by 2.6% in November, first drop since April

UK economy shrinks by 2.6% in November, first drop since April
  • The fall in gross domestic product much lower than the average forecast for a 5.7 percent drop

LONDON: Britain’s economy shrank by 2.6 percent in November, the first monthly fall in output since the depths of an initial COVID lockdown in April, as new restrictions were imposed on much of the country to slow the spread of the disease.
The fall in gross domestic product reported by the Office for National Statistics was much lower than the average forecast for a 5.7 percent drop in a Reuters poll of economists.
The Bank of England estimates Britain’s economy shrank by just over 1 percent over the final three months of 2020, and with a new lockdown in place since January the country is likely to have fallen into a double-dip recession.
The BoE ramped up its bond-buying program to almost 900 billion pounds in November and Governor Andrew Bailey said this week that it was too soon to say if further stimulus would be needed.