Rural electrification to benefit from World Bank program

Published by rudy Date posted on March 27, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Electrification of the rural areas will be one of the priorities in the granting of loans by the World Bank, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

In a statement, Zubiri said he welcomed the decision of one of the country’s biggest multilateral creditors to grant $700 million to $1 billion loan to the Philippines over the next three years.

“It’s a positive note that should be welcomed. It means the World Bank is still looking at the Philippines as a partner in its development program,” Zubiri said.

Aside from rural electrification, the financial package that the World Bank has agreed to lend to the Philippines under its new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) will finance programs on poverty alleviation and good governance.

It will also cover new and existing projects related to transport, agriculture and agribusiness development, urban renewal, disaster-risk management, improvement of public health and education systems, as well as public and private partnerships in water projects.

 “It’s good news that the World Bank knows of our government’s efforts to reduce if not totally eradicate corruption not only in the local level but at the national level as well.”

In January this year, the World Bank froze the awarding of $33 million that would have funded Phase 1 of the Philippines’ National Roads Improvement and Management Program (NRIMP1). It also disqualified seven local and international firms bidding on the contracts after a “major cartel” was uncovered.

The proposed Country Assistance Strategy, which covers the period July 2009 to June 2012, will be up for approval during the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors meeting this coming April.–Donnabelle L. Gatdula, Philippine Star

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