Economic managers: More foreign investors welcome in PH
Economic managers on Tuesday enjoined foreign investors to take part in the Philippines’ growth story, highlighting a “vibrant” economy during their first international roadshow in Singapore, the government’s Investor Relations Office (IRO) said.
“With the Philippines primed to play a key role in the vibrant growth of the Asean Economic Community, the Duterte administration is looking at increased private sector participation in the financing of its projects meant to close the infrastructure backlog, attract investments, create jobs, and achieve financial inclusion,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said during the Philippine Economic Briefing with the theme “The Rising Philippine Economy: Powering Gains with Global Partners Through Shared Goals.”
“While the government is accessing grants and ODA [official development assistance] loans in the early part of its infrastructure buildup plan, it is looking at the greater involvement of private investors once the big-ticket projects are in place,” added Dominguez, who heads the Duterte administration’s economic team.
Under its “Build, Build, Build” program, the Duterte administration plans to spend up to P9 trillion until 2022 to usher in a “golden age of infrastructure.”
Dominguez said tax reform will be crucial in the government’s infrastructure push.
“We have also endorsed for Congressional approval a comprehensive tax reform program that is designed to help provide a steady revenue flow not only for this ambitious infrastructure program, but also for the Duterte administration’s programs on human capital development and social protection that are geared to accelerate poverty reduction in the medium term,” the Finance chief said.
For his part, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the government is serious in its infrastructure buildup plan.
“Our infrastructure program is the boldest the Philippines has ever had. With the amount of money we will infuse on expressways, airports, seaports, mass transit systems, among others, the Philippines will enter its ‘golden age of infrastructure.’ Ambitious as it may sound, the government is keen on realizing this infrastructure agenda,” the Budget chief said.
Also, the country’s chief economist noted of the “sound and growth-enabling” policies put in place during the first year of the Duterte administration.
“We are enhancing the ease of doing business by streamlining processes in line agencies. We are strengthening integrity of our public institutions, such as through freedom of information beginning with the Executive branch, to the example, and other anti-corruption initiatives. Government is now much faster in approving big-ticket infrastructure projects, having rationalized certain procedures. All of these result in an environment that is more welcoming to business,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, who heads the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. was quoted by the IRO as saying that the BSP was “keen on contributing to an environment that enables more job-generating investments on a sustainable basis by ensuring price stability as well as financial stability” through its policy of “continuity plus plus.”
“This simply means we will build on our strong and stable foundations by instituting additional game-changing financial sector reforms that will complement the economy’s robust and inclusive growth agenda,” Espenilla said.
“Following the full liberalization of the Philippine banking system in 2014, we intend to raise the bar further by having even more competition, which will bring in better innovation, especially digital innovation, and prompt industry players to improve delivery of financial services to consumers. At the same time, we want to champion capital market development. We will do these through an enabling regulatory environment. Given this backdrop, investors in financial services are certainly welcome,” the BSP chief added. JPV
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