International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Friday called the Philippines’ change in status from being a borrower to a creditor nation “a big shift.”
The IMF chief noted the role reversal during her courtesy call to Vice President Jejomar C. Binay at the Coconut Palace as she conveyed her gratitude for the country’s contributions to the World Bank as an IMF lender.
“To see your country come up with a contribution on World Bank loans at a time when the economic crisis is not here but in Europe in particular was real,” Lagarde told Binay.
“It was not so much the money, it was the signal that you gave,” she added.
Lagarde said it was now the European countries that have become the borrowers, with Ireland, Portugal and Greece being the IMF’s largest beneficiaries.
For his part, Binay expressed optimism that Europe “will get over the hump soon,” noting that the United Kingdom and France are the Philippines’ two largest trading partners in Europe.
In June, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) committed to provide $1 billion in loan resources under the bilateral borrowing facility of the IMF.
The continued growth of the country’s gross international reserves, fueled by the Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) remittances allowed the BSP to extend loan resources to the IMF.
During their talks, the Vice President and the IMF chief also discussed the housing and real estate developments in the country.
“In my visit and tours, it seems that you have huge developments, massive real estate developments all over the place and then you have a big issue of developing housing for the poor,” Lagarde said.
“So you have two potential challenges here because too much real estate development can create a huge problem and you’ve got to care for the poor,” she added.
Binay told Lagarde that the government’s housing program for the poor was now shifting from single detached units to medium rise buildings.
The Vice President is the Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
ing�BdnBh�� tions to allocate at least eight percent of their total loan portfolio to micro and small businesses. It also provides access to new technologies and regular entrepreneurship training programs for workers as well as a comprehensive development plan that would ensure the viability and growth of MSMEs in the country.
The Barangay Kabuhayan Act establishes livelihood and skills training centers in the fourth, fifth and sixth class municipalities in the country.
The Agri-Agra Law requires banks to allocate 25% of their loanable funds to the agriculture sector to finance the acquisition of work animals, farm equipment or machinery, seeds, fertilizers, livestock, feeds and/or other similar items for farm production. Of the 25%, 10% should be given to agrarian reform beneficiaries and 15% to the agriculture sector.***