Dominguez nixes gov't asset sale for Covid-19

July 07, 2020

Any plan to sell government assets to address funding requirements for programs against coronavirus disease remains a plan for Malacañang.

Asked whether President Duterte has discussed this plan with Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III, the latter, in a Viber message to journalists said, "No".

Last Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President remains firm on selling government assets to purchase Covid-19 vaccines once these become available.

This, after US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its partner, Germany-based Biopharmaceutical New Technologies, said their ongoing study for a possible Covid-19 vaccine is showing positive results.

Last April, Dominguez discounted the need to sell state assets because the government entered the pandemic on a strong fiscal position.

He said there are also government borrowings intended to finance the Covid-19 response.

“We have not reached the point at which we are considering (the) sale of major government assets,” he said.

The current budget being used to finance Covid-19 programs came from government savings, dividends from some government agencies as well as borrowing from multilateral partners like Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Last week, the Finance chief signed, for the government, an agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, for a P23.5-billion loan, the first ever concessional loan that JICA approved for a country for Covid-19 emergency support.

To date, the government has borrowed about USD5 billion from external fund sources, more than half of the $8.6 billion programmed foreign borrowing for this year.