By Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio, April 29 2019; Business World

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THE World Bank Group is now working with a coordinated country program to help eliminate project redundancies with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), according to the Department of Finance (DoF) on Monday.

“As Secretary Dominguez had mentioned, we will bring us (ADB and World Bank) together to discuss further how we can work together,” DoF quoted World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific Victoria Kwakwa as saying in a statement.

According to the DoF, David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, said that he spoke with ADB President Takehiko Nakao on how to reduce overhead and facilitate coordinated development efforts.

Mr. Malpass said that World Bank and ADB should form a subgroup that will focus on specific areas of assistance such as infrastructure, to avoid redundancy and to ensure that these projects are implemented efficiently, the DoF said.

“Why do we have to get two economic reports from ADB and WB? Maybe there’s a way to work together and to reduce overhead. I put myself in the place of a small country, why do I have to deal with two bureaucracies that do virtually the same thing,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in his meeting with Mr. Malpass, as quoted in the statement.

“I think our engagement with the World Bank at this time is quite intense and I think more intense it was than in the last administration,” Mr. Dominguez added.

The DoF also noted that Mr. Malpass told Mr. Dominguez to propose how the Bank can help the Philippines better attain sustainable growth.

Last week, in a news conference in Mandaluyong, Mr. Nakao said the ADB is in constant communication with Mr. Dominguez about the latter’s idea of close coordination between ADB and World Bank.

“I think it’s a very good idea and we are in constant communication with Secretary Dominguez on how to use our resources for the Philippines, and I appreciate his devotion to make the Manila meeting last year go well and it was very successful and commended by many participants,” Mr. Nakao said.

“The ADB is now doing more work in the Philippines and Secretary Dominguez said ADB should play a larger role in the Philippines. He said we should cooperate more, so this means that in forming country strategies, we can align our ideas more,” he added. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio