MANILA – Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has called on Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) to level up and increase its loan portfolio in the next five years to strongly boost recovery efforts of its member-countries.
Asked about his insights on how the ADB can further support its member-countries, Dominguez said the multilateral lender, being the “largest and most experienced development institution in Asia Pacific, cannot effectively help its members if it will maintain a “business as usual approach”.
He said the lender “must continue reinventing itself and realigning its programs to meet new realities and to stay relevant amidst the fast-changing landscape”.
“Specifically, there is a need for the bank to seriously consider a substantial expansion in its loan portfolio in the next five-year period. This will effectively support its member-countries’ recovery even if this brings forward the need for a capital increase,” he said Monday during the virtual Governors’ seminar, which is part of the events ahead of the 54th Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors on May 5.
Dominguez said the pandemic provides a venue for the lender “to continue to demonstrate that it has indeed become a more responsive, agile, and flexible institution as envisioned in its Strategy 2030.”
Aside from having access to funding support, he said countries also need to accelerate the utilization of digital technologies and artificial intelligence while expanding investments in renewable and clean energy to cement a sustainable recovery.
Ensuring an equitable distribution of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines will also help member-countries fast-track their vaccination programs and address the economic impact of the pandemic, he added.
ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said they recognize the importance of providing financing support given the nearly 150-percent rise in their loan disbursements last year relative to the previous year.
He said the commitment amount for pandemic-related disbursements reached about USD32 billion in 2020.
Asakawa said around half of this amount was allocated for economic measures to address the pandemic’s impact, while the other half for long term development programs such as those for climate change mitigation, infrastructure, gender issues, and poverty alleviation.
“Assuming that we’ll not see anymore significant outbreaks we’ll try to achieve a little bit more balanced portfolio between our necessary lending to DMCs (developing member countries) to fight against Covid-19 and our lending operations for medium to long-term development goals,” he added. Joann Villanueva / PNA – northboundasia.com