Investor confidence goes beyond 2016 polls–Neda chief
Whoever would become the next president is lucky as the Philippines has already cemented its attractiveness to investors in the medium term, according to the country’s chief economist.
Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told reporters that the reported expansion plans of local corporations and conglomerates reflected the business sector being confident in the economy.
“If you read the newspapers, how much Megaworld (Corp.) and Ayala (Corp.) are allotting for their capital expenditures this year and the next couple of years, they are so bullish. The business confidence is there and I don’t think it matters what the outcome of the 2016 elections will be, the way they [corporations] are programming their investments in the next couple of years,” said Balisacan, who is also director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
A number of economists have tempered their economic growth outlook for the Philippines for 2016, citing “uncertainties” to be brought by a change in leadership.
“In so far as the long-term prospect of the country is concerned, given the achievements that have been done, the groundwork and fundamentals [laid down, the perception of investors] would not change quickly,” Balisacan said.
The next administration “can do better” than the Aquino government, the Neda chief said. “The challenge for the next administration is to get the investment climate even better and continue doing reforms.”
To sustain or even surpass the robust 7-8-percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth being targeted in the medium term, “we need leaders who will continue the reform process, build up an economy that is able to support inflows of investments, get the confidence sustained and stronger so that you draw more investors into our shores,” Balisacan said.
For his part, Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad attributed the economic fruits currently being reaped by the country to “good governance, which has resulted to good performance.”
Abad noted that at the heart of good governance initiatives and reforms is the presidency, hence, the 2016 elections remained “crucial in the sense that you have to have a state that continues to drive the change, because in this country you have the influence of vested and rent-seeking interests.”
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