Philippines keen on raising debt via sukuk, yuan borrowings

 03 Jun 2016 - 14:29

Philippines keen on raising debt via sukuk, yuan borrowings

 

By Manolo Serapio Jr and Enrico Dela Cruz

 

MANILA: The Philippines’ incoming finance minister is looking at raising debt via sukuk bonds and yuan borrowings in a bid to diversify its debt profile as it aims for the “best deal” in funding more infrastructure projects.

“It’s not diversification for diversification’s sake, it’s (getting) the best deal,” Carlos Dominguez told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

The Philippines, which used to be one of Asia’s most active sovereign bond issuers, last went to the debt market in February selling $2 billion of 25-year bonds that drew huge demand.

Dominguez is also planning to impose new taxes on more unhealthy products to compensate for a planned cut in income taxes as he vows to widen the tax base and make the revenue raising regime more equitable.

The plan is among many that Dominguez, who is returning to the Cabinet after 27 years, vows to implement when he assumes office on June 30.

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s cabinet, unveiled on Tuesday, is comprised of former government officials, educators as well as soldiers, many of whom are close to the firebrand mayor of Davao city in the south.

Duterte won the country’s May 9 election after pledging to crush crime, corruption and drug abuse. His Cabinet members have vowed to boost agriculture and infrastructure spending, speed up delivery of government services and ensure that the economy’s gains filter down to the poor.

“We will change the focus on making the economy more inclusive,” Dominguez said.

He also said he would push for the lifting of the country’s bank secrecy law and put casinos under an anti-money laundering legislation to avoid a repeat of the Bangladesh Bank heist where stolen funds found their way to Manila.

(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

Reuters