Gov’t readies priority bills to boost investment

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09:51 PM February 26th, 2013

By: Niña P. Calleja, February 26th, 2013 09:51 PM

The government is readying the reform bills on tax incentives, investments and sharing agreements on mining revenues that it hopes to file at the start of the new Congress and be enacted within the year.

“We are looking at possible changes in legislation. We target to file draft bills at the start of the new Congress and pass them at the end of the year,” Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said during the Arangkada Philippines Forum 2013 organized by the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines on Tuesday.

One of planned legislative amendments, according to Domingo, was the review of the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL), which identifies investment areas that are reserved for Filipino businesses and are off-limits to foreign corporations.

“We are reviewing everything about it, what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense,” Domingo told reporters without specifying the sectors in the list that were being studied.

The overall review of the FINL will be carried out jointly by the departments of trade and industry and of finance and the National Economic and Development Authority.

Domingo also mentioned the rationalization of fiscal incentives as one of the priority bills that his department hoped would be tackled in the 16th Congress.

The passage of this measure is expected to boost the country’s chances of getting a credit-rating upgrade. The Philippines is rated a notch below investment grade by the three biggest credit-rating watchdogs—Fitch Ratings, Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s.

Another priority bill of the DTI is the proposal on the new revenue-sharing agreement between mining companies and the government. Domingo said, however, that government agencies have yet to finalize how much the government should get from mining contracts.

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