Stable policies, adequate infra key to higher FDIs
Unstable policies, legal challenges and the lack of infrastructure support were deemed the biggest impediments to the entry of foreign direct investments into the country, rather than the economic restrictions provided by the Philippine Constitution.
Thus, the government should focus its efforts on improving the overall investment climate and on further easing the process of doing business here to make the Philippines a more attractive and favorable location for investors.
“I am open (to relaxing certain economic provisions) but as I’ve said before, based on surveys, this is not the primary reason why foreign investors are not coming in,” vice presidential candidate Sen. Francis Escudero said in a statement.
“The primary reason are our unstable policies; secondly, the interference of the courts, and thirdly, the lack of infrastructure. These are the issues I want to address,” Escudero said.
The lawmaker added he was supporting calls for the lifting of the nationality requirements in establishing businesses in the country. However, he said, ownership of land should remain exclusive to Filipinos.
“I am against liberalizing land ownership. But restrictions should be eased for the purpose of establishing businesses in the country. A case in point is media. Until now, our Constitution mandates 100-percent Filipino ownership of media organizations. We need to change this,” he said.
Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) recently showed that foreign investments in job-generating projects slid 0.3 percent year-on-year to $5.72 billion in 2015. Net FDI inflows in 2015 were lower than the $5.74 posted in 2014 and the $6-billion goal for the year.
The foreign business community has long been clamoring for the easing of restrictive economic policies under the Philippine Constitution, stressing that the entry of more foreign investors was not just about investments, but also about new technology, foreign expertise, value adding in products and services, and the jobs that can be generated from these investors. FDI inflow was also regarded as a significant source of development finance.
Some quarters expressed fears that the Philippines would again miss the boat in attracting FDIs if the government would not move more aggressively to open up the economy and ease foreign ownership restrictions in the Constitution.