US EXTENDS $213 GRANT TO REDUCE POVERTY
The United States has extended a US$213 million grant to the Philippines to finance a program that aims to reduce poverty, promote private-sector led growth and strengthen good governance in the country.
On behalf of the Philippine government, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III signed the grant for the Economic Growth and Democratic Governance with Equity (EGDGE) program, which will be implemented over a five-year period until September 2025.
Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II signed the accord on behalf of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
“We thank USAID for this latest support by the United States government by way of a US$213 million grant for the Duterte administration’s paramount goal of accelerating poverty reduction and attaining financial inclusion for all Filipinos,” Secretary Dominguez said in signing the grant agreement. “This American aid in support of the overriding concern of the Duterte government underscores the strong and enduring bilateral ties between the US Government and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines that transcend the political chatter.”
The DOF said the EGDGE program “aims to advance poverty reduction, justice, and peace in the country” and “also seeks to advance macroeconomic fundamentals and open governance in order to promote inclusive growth for a more prosperous, self-reliant and stable Philippines.”
Equivalent to about P10.8 billion, the grant covers technical assistance on public financial management, domestic resource mobilization, public-private partnerships and inter-agency coordination; and assistance to develop and strengthen the capital markets, such as municipal bond financing and the promotion of innovative financial products.
It also includes assistance to improve regulatory governance by strengthening the capacity of public officials to develop transparent regulations and expanding opportunities for civil society advocacy for fair and open regulation, the DOF said.
With the DOF as the main implementing agency, the program is also designed to improve the enabling environment for private infrastructure investments; and provide assistance in technical advising, training, lending guarantees, and/or private sector partnerships to promote startups and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development.
It is also envisioned to support sound urban management practices and investment development strategies to create new economic hubs in areas outside Metro Manila.
The governance aspect of the program will support anti-corruption institutions, spending agencies and other relevant bodies in implementing reforms to improve transparency and accountability in public finance, the DOF said.