ASEAN prepares bankable projects to close infra financing gap

MANILA-- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members, including the Philippines, are preparing a pipeline of bankable sustainable infrastructure projects in a bid to close the infrastructure gaps in the region.

Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, chair of ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC), said the amount needed to cover the infrastructure gap in ASEAN was estimated at USD 200 billion to USD500 billion.

It's been a puzzle to us There are so many funds available for infrastructure projects. Even in ASEAN, we have ASEAN infrastructure funds. (But) how come there is a big gap between the availability of funds and the infrastructure needs of ASEAN?, she said in a press briefing.

The Philippines hosted the 8th ASEAN Connectivity symposium on Friday to discuss pertinent issues towards planning for the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025.

Buensuceso pointed out that under the first strategic area of the MPAC on sustainable infrastructure, countries are identifying bankable projects to attract more investments.

Because most of the time, people come up with projects that investors are not interested in. In this specific key initiative, we took into account what do investors like to see in a project proposal, she said.

Buensuceso also cited other initiatives under sustainable infrastructure which included determining the quality, sustainability or productivity of existing and future infrastructure projects.

We want to build smart cities in ASEAN. We would like to look at good practices of places like Sydney, Singapore; how can we grow sustainable smart cities in ASEAN as well, she added.

The MPAC 2025 is also focusing on other strategic areas: digital innovation, seamless logistics, regulatory excellence and people mobility.

Buensuceso further said ASEAN members also discussed digital financial services in which they knew the risk, they knew the areas where they could bring benefit to the people by introducing innovation in the delivery of digital financial services.

Rolando Tungpalan, Undersecretary for Investment Programming of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said the MPAC could support the implementation of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017 to 2022 which speaks highly about connectivity and our role in the ASEAN.

NEDA is the national coordinating agency of MPAC 2015, with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) as the Vice-Chair.

So being the national coordinator for connectivity augurs very well for us because we could very well link to the larger community which is ASEAN. As we all know, this this is the growth area in the world and surely the Philippines can cash in that large economy destination of investments, Tungpalan said.

Source: Philippine News Agency