Gov’t prodded on economic reforms

Local, foreign chambers list critical recommendations

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A newly constructed road in Benguet in the Cordilleras. The country’s biggest business groups and the Joint Foreign Chambers have asked the Aquino administration to implement critical and strategic measures, including strategic transportation infrastructure projects, that will enable the Philippines to continue being one of Asia’s fast-rising economies. EV ESPIRITU/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

The country’s biggest business groups and the Joint Foreign Chambers have asked the Aquino administration to implement critical and strategic measures that will enable the Philippines to continue being one of Asia’s fast-rising economies.

In a joint letter to President Aquino, the business groups outlined a slew of recommendations concerning infrastructure, power and regulatory and policy reforms aimed at generating the “greatest impact in achieving our shared vision of inclusive growth through job generation, poverty reduction and global competitiveness.”

Signatories to the letter dated June 19 were the Makati Business Club, Alyansa Agrikultura, American Chamber of Commerce, European Chamber of Commerce, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, Japan Chamber of Commerce, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Management Association of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Korean Chamber of Commerce and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc.

One of the recommendations is the enactment of an effective anti-trust law and competition policy to create a level playing field and, in turn, encourage more productive investments in light of an impending Asean integration in 2015.

“There are several laws and issuances which do not address the complexities of the current market conditions and as well result in overlapping jurisdictions and conflicts. Thus, we see the need for a single comprehensive law,” the groups said in the letter.

They also underscored the need to “overhaul the Bureau of Customs and to create an oversight body with private sector representation” as smuggling continued to derail government efforts on revenue collection and job generation. They claimed that the government was losing more than P100 billion a year from smuggling.

Strategic transportation infrastructure projects must likewise be accelerated and implemented at the soonest time, they added. These projects include the development of the country’s main international gateway, decongestion of the Port of Manila and the connection of NLEx and SLEx.

“We also strongly urge the rationalization of existing incentive-giving laws to further spur investments in crucial and strategic sectors, especially those that will help generate jobs and enhance global competitiveness,” the groups stressed.

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  • Alajero

    …STOP the EXTORTIONS on people who want to open business in this country…need to tame business tax laws to nurture start ups and strategic businesses…that would help…right now it’s just so unpleasant for foreign investors…and retards our participation to global economy and wasteful of our local talents…especially the IT industry…

  • Alajero

    …yes let us start by opening the skies to more air carrier so the country will be flooded by touristsand improve accessibility and safety to attractions…that will be a good start and it will benefit more people…instead of the few owners of PAL…

  • Ako_Hiking

    That is exactly what is lacking in the Aquino Administration are the implementing of strategic and critical measures to ensure economic growth. The only reform that Aquino has is take credit for all the work the previous Administration initiated under Gloria and at the same time attack her and turn her into a villain so that when something goes wrong you can blame her.

  • philspratly

    an anti trust bill is already being crafted by congress and I think in the senate also. whether it has enough teeth and whether it will pass in both chambers is another thing. If we want to foster more competition and therefore increase efficiency , I think we may have to open our country for more foreign ownership — cha cha. A good example I can cite is macao before their 1999 turnover. 90% of casinos were controlled by just 1 person prior to 1999. When the change over took place, the control of the 1 individual was greatly reduced and so was his influence and more and more competition ensued.

  • carlcid

    Amending the Constitution would be among the first things on the table. But the president won’t even consider it because he thinks that it would be a rebuke to his mother. Talk about non-starters!

    • Handiong

      The recommendations of the business sector do not include amending the Constitution. The businessmen only want a “single comprehensive law” to rationalize the slew of “laws and issuances which do not address the complexities of the current market conditions and as well result in overlapping jurisdictions and conflicts”. Only the politicians want to amend the Constitution for self-serving motives.

      • Guest

        Wrong. The business sector just wants President Aquino to favor them. PPP and Oligarchy, that’s how they love it.

      • Handiong

        As long as the business sector will create the jobs, give them what they ask for.

      • carlcid

        Even Makati Business Club Chairman Ramon del Rosario, Jr., a strong PNoy supporter and one of Cory Aquino’s close economic advisers, has called for constitutional amendments. It is not just the politicians who want the flawed Cory Constitution amended.

      • Handiong

        Blue-Boy’s is just one opinion.

    • ConcernedCitizenPh

      How can change be rebuking his mother when everybody knows she is a plain housewife who would not have crafted all of the Constitution. The President is making his mother appear responsible with his hesitation

  • Guest

    Economic reforms are good. But PNoy’s election donors will be prioritized. That’s the whole point of PNoy’s presidency. Influence-peddling.

  • PinoyDude

    I hope our policymakers listen to these groups that have petitioned for reforms.

    Vietnam and Cambodia are starting to move forward.

    Kung hindi tayo kumilos kailan pa kaya?

  • tadasolo

    There is a simple formula in national development. Get the government off our backs and set policies that will foster competition. Open up our restrictive policies on ownership. Open the electicity environment to foreigners and force the inefficiencies of local monopoly and make them compete. Government should seriously look into doing away with the often confusing decoupling of generation, transmission and distribution. Government should take control as part of its public works program to take over the transmission lines to those willing to invest in generations and gurantee them a rate of return in these unstable times and as soon as stability in the system is achieved will sell the private interest these lines for operation and maintenance.

  • Prangka

    Since it is very difficult to prod FDI’s to our country because of one permeating issue the government can’t resolve – high cost of electricity – then it has to rely on what it could bank on: OFW, BPO and Tourism.

    • Guest

      The second single biggest monthly opex of BPO is electricity. After employee compensation and benefits, electricity eats accounts for around a BPO’s typical opex. That’s not mentioning the higher labor cost these last few months due to the appreciating peso.

  • ConcernedCitizenPh

    .Recipe for economic success presented by our own business groups, our allies’ and our friends’ business groups. There should be a solid economic support to our stand on our territories.

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