Gov’t urged to step up efforts to boost agri, manufacturing | Inquirer Business

Gov’t urged to step up efforts to boost agri, manufacturing

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 12:03 AM January 05, 2016

The Philippine government must be more aggressive in boosting the local agriculture and manufacturing sectors and in ramping up infrastructure spending, as increased focus on these sectors is key to sustaining the country’s robust economic growth story.

Alongside efforts to attract investments in these sectors, the  government must also continue addressing critical issues that have hampered the country’s investment climate and the competitiveness of local firms, particularly that of the micro, small, and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs). Doing so would likely attract the much needed foreign direct investments (FDIs) into the country.

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Bodo Goerlich, president of the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (GPCCI), said in an interview that proper infrastructure was one of the key factors that would attract German investors into doing business in the Philippines.

“Faster improvements in roads, harbors, airports and communication infrastructure will almost immediately yield benefits to the Philippine economy. The administration should also put a stronger focus on the economic development of the provinces, for a geographically more evenly distributed economic growth and to avoid further congestion in Metro Manila,” Goerlich said. “Another priority should be the opening of markets to foreign companies and improving the country’s rating with regards to the ease of doing business.”

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According to Goerlich, the next administration must also pave the way for more foreign investments in the manufacturing industry given its huge potential.

“There is a need to reform the education system. Besides K to 12, the vocational component should be strengthened to attract foreign investors in the field of manufacturing. Here, the German dual education can be taken as a blue print.

Separately, John D. Forbes, senior adviser at the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), cited the lack of investments in the local agricultural and mining sectors and noted the need for the government to roll out and complete infrastructure projects that would provide new and additional access roads, especially skyways, and railways in the National Capital Region.

Metro Manila, he said, run the risk of becoming uninhabitable as the number of vehicles on the streets had been rising faster.

He also cited the issue of airport congestion, which had been “throttling tourism growth,” as he stressed the need to shift more flights to Clark in Pampanga.

A new airport terminal there, he added, should be built in the next two years with a non-stop fast train connector similar to Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Forbes said the next administration should continue to support the so-called “Seven Big Winner Sectors” identified by foreign businessmen under  the Arangkada Philippines. These are agriculture; business process outsourcing; creative industries, infrastructure; manufacturing and logistics; mining; and tourism including medical travel and retirement.

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