The Build! Build! Build! (BBB) Program was meant to bring about significant improvements in infrastructure growth in the country to catch up with rapid urbanization and population growth. However, it has been beset with problems that resulted in serious delays in project completion including lack of technology, right-of-way acquisition problems, poor project preparation and identification and procurement problems, among others.
The onset of COVID-19 in 2020 which took a heavy toll on the global economy has not spared the country’s BBB Program. Apart from the disruption in construction activities, fiscal pressures weighed heavily on the government and its development partners’ ability to raise funds to finance and ensure the timely completion of these vital infrastructure projects in favor of more urgent COVID-19 responses, including health and digital infrastructure. Not to mention the poor absorptive capacity of major infrastructure agencies, significant losses suffered by the country’s top businesses as a result of the health crisis likewise cast doubts in many BBB projects for public-private partnership financing.
Other than improving on the actual provision of infrastructure, government should support and implement policy reforms that would ensure a conducive environment for both public and private investments in the infrastructure sector especially in the post pandemic era. Critical to these reforms is the enactment of the Public-Private Partnership Act, the National Transport Policy, the Amendments to the Right-of-Way Law and the Sustainable Transportation Act.