NBN-ZTE deal beneficial to government — Neda exec
Written by Tribune
Tuesday, 01 October 2013 08:00
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There may not be a case of plunder after all, or at least those charged may just walk.
A ranking official of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) yesterday disclosed that the cancelled NBN-ZTE (national broadband project) was beneficial to the government and that it could have yielded a very substantial rate of return for the country.
Testifying at the continuation of the graft case at the Sandiganbayan in connection with the botched project, Ruben Reynoso Jr., Neda assistant director general, said that he was then head of the Neda Investment Coordination Committee (Neda ICC) technical team that had reviewed the NBN-ZTE project in 2006.
Former President Gloria Arroyo, her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo, former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos and former Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) Secretary Leandro Mendoza have been charged with graft for their alleged involvement in the botched $329 million national broadband network (NBN) project in 2007.
Reynoso said his team found the NBN-ZTE project to be beneficial to the government based on both its technical and economic merits.
Reynoso, who was then the director of the infrastructure staff of the Neda, said the NBN-ZTE deal was “economically viable” because it had a rate of return of 29 percent or almost double the rate of return benchmark set by the Neda for any government contract.
“The rate of return for every government contract entered into by the government is 15 percent. Anything below that is not economically viable and we do not endorse it subject to some exceptions.
“However with the broadband project, the rate of return was more than 29 percent or almost double so it was relatively high,” he said.
When asked about his team’s recommendation, Reynoso said his team endorsed the project to the Neda ICC for approval because “we believe that it was a reasonable investment which is beneficial to the government.”
He said prior to their evaluation, the NBN-ZTE project was also reviewed by the DOTC, which also endorsed the project which is the reason it reached their office.
“The project started with the DoTC, they reviewed it and endorsed it to Neda which is the reason we reviewed it,” he explained.
Finding the project to be viable and beneficial, Reynoso said his team submitted their endorsement to the Neda ICC for approval as required by law. He said the Neda ICC later approved the project and it submitted the approval to the Neda Board for final approval. The Neda Board subsequently approved the project.
Retired CICT Chairman Ramon Sales also testified during the same hearing and said that his office also found the NBN-ZTE to be “technically feasible” in a conceptual recommendation they had submitted to the Neda Director Romulo Neri."
Anak ng tok-lay yang mga ABNoyans na yan. Akala mo may alam yun pala puro bobo. Nagdemanda pa. Ginamit pang propaganda yun pala ang laki ng tutubuin sana ng gobyerno dyan. Tang nang kayong mga ***** kayo. Puro pagnanakaw ang nasa utak nyo.