Neda: More R&D investments needed to boost productivity
Additional investments in research and development (R&D), as well as better education and training are key to improving the productivity of Filipino workers, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
Neda director general and Socio-Planning Economic Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan noted that the Aquino administration’s goal to achieve inclusive growth is hinged on the competitiveness of the agriculture, industry and services sectors—all of which require innovation and higher productivity.
“In order to spur productivity and innovation, the government encourages private investments in research and development, the full utilization of available technology, and the development of climate-smart or clean technologies,” he said.
On the government’s part, it would build R&D capabilities in “transformative, cutting-edge and sustainable technologies,” such as advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, information and communication, and new materials, Balisacan said.
To support small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the government would establish technology business incubation centers as well as shared service facilities to facilitate product development, the Neda chief said.
“The Small Enterprise Technological Upgrading program will also be expanded to assist SMEs in adopting technological innovations to improve their productivity and competitiveness,” he said, noting that SMEs comprise 99.6 percent of the businesses in the country and provide almost two-thirds of total domestic employment.
Small farmers and cooperatives, especially those involved in fishing and growing crops, as well as in furniture and garments, would likewise receive assistance in terms of product development, the official said.
Apart from R&D, human resource development is also crucial in sustaining the expansion of local industries while making them more competitive, Balisacan said.
That is why “high-quality and market-responsive education and training are needed to avoid skills gaps, ensure that workers are able to support business activity, and develop innovative capacity,” Balisacan said. Ben O. de Vera
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