Infra spending spree seen to shield PH from global growth slowdown
President Duterte’s centerpiece “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program will provide the Philippines the stimulus it needs to keep creating jobs and open new investment opportunities as the feared global economic slowdown looms, according to the head of the administration’s economic team.
In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III stressed the country’s positive economic outlook as he invited Singaporean investors to consider investing in the infrastructure sector and other related businesses that would open up as a result of this modernization program.
He also informed a visiting delegation from the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) that the Philippines expects to hit upper middle-income country status next year on the strength of its stable macroeconomic fundamentals and game-changing reforms enacted over the first three years of the Duterte administration, such as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law.
“I think we have proven that we can chew gum and walk across the room at the same time,” he said. “We can do reform and we can deliver in the field. We have done significant reforms in taxation, and we are moving forward with that,” Dominguez said in his meeting with SBF members at the Department of Finance office in Manila Monday morning.
He said the Duterte administration “delivered in the field,” as it was able to increase spending on infrastructure from 2.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in the last 50 years, to 5 percent of GDP in 2018.
Dominguez said the infrastructure building spree would create jobs and boost domestic consumption, thus shielding the domestic economy from the global growth slowdown, the adverse effects of the ongoing US-China trade war and other risks to the government’s efforts to sustain the Philippines’ high growth rate.
“The Philippine economy continues to demonstrate strength, stability and resilience in adverse conditions,” he said. “We hope to sustain our growth, relying on strong domestic demand to offset the general slowdown.”
Led by its chair, Teo Siong Seng, the SBF met with Dominguez and other DOF officials to know more about the business climate in the country and explore investment opportunities here.
The SBF represents 25,800 companies based in Singapore.
“Even as the global economic outlook deteriorates further, we are confident that the economic stimulus provided by our infrastructure program will continue to create new jobs and be very beneficial for businesses in the sense that it will lower your logistics costs in the Philippines,” Dominguez said. —DAXIM L. LUCAS
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