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Manila Bulletin - 2021-05-05

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ADB urged to increase loan portfolio

Business

By CHINO S. LEYCO

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is urged to substantially expand its loan portfolio in the next five years to support the swift recovery of its developing member-countries from the global economic shock of the pandemic. During the ADB Governors’ Seminar, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has called on the Manila-based multilateral financial institutions to raise its financing support even if it involves additional capital base. Dominguez said that as the largest and most experienced development institution in the Asia Pacific region, the ADB must effectively assist developing economies to bounce back as fast as the developed countries. However, he said his proposal cannot be achieved if the ADB maintains a “business-as-usual” approach. “As I have suggested long before COVID-19 struck, the Asian Development Bank must continue reinventing itself and realigning its programs to meet new realities and to stay relevant amidst the fast-changing landscape,” Dominguez said. The Governors’ Seminar, held virtually late Monday, May 3, is part of the series of events leading up to the 54th Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors on Wednesday, May 5. “In order to be responsive to critical needs, the ADB must level up. Specifically, there is a need for the bank to seriously consider a substantial expansion in its loan portfolio in the next fiveyear period,” Dominguez said. “This will effectively support its member-countries’ recovery even if this brings forward the need for a capital increase,” he added. Dominguez pointed out that to achieve the world’s safer recovery from the pandemic, there should be just and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to include lower-income countries. “The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive global economic impact. Unfortunately, the response to the crisis has been uneven,” he said. Dominguez noted that developed countries have been able to extend much higher levels of financial support to their people and to undertake mass inoculations at a faster pace than the developing economies because of their vast financial resources. “The Philippines, therefore, supports the strong call for developed countries, multilateral institutions, and global organizations to join forces in ensuring the accessibility of these lifesaving doses to lower-income economies,” Dominguez said. On top of ensuring the fair and even distribution of COVID19 vaccines, Dominguez also underscored the need to assist developing countries in accessing financial resources to boost their healthcare systems, and build resiliency against new virus outbreaks. He also cited the need to rebuild economies to adjust to the new challenges arising from the pandemic, which involves, among others, accelerating the use of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, and substantially increasing investments in clean and renewable energy.

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