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Neda seeks Congress OK of key economic bills before solons get busy for 2022 polls

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:06 PM January 20, 2020

The state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is seeking Congress’ approval this year of bills aimed at bringing down the capital requirement for foreign retailers and widening the door for foreign investors.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda chief Ernesto M. Pernia told a press conference on Monday (Jan. 2) that so far in the current 18th Congress, the Duterte administration’s priority economic bills were advancing as some had reached various stages of approval in the two legislature’s two chambers—the House of Representatives and Senate.

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But Economic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said a number of bills were still pending and should pass within 2020 because legislators would be busy in campaigns by 2021 for the next national elections in 2022.

Edillon said among the priority bills should be the proposed Neda Charter, which would strengthen the culture of planning in the government.

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The others included the proposed Retail Liberalization Law, which would allow more foreign investors to enter retail businesses in the Philippines currently dominated by Filipino companies.

Neda, she said, also wanted amendments to the Foreign Investment Act, creation of a Department of Water and Water Regulatory Commission, creation of a Department of Resiliency and a national land use law.

Other bills that Neda was pushing for approval in the next 12 months included creating a unified penology system, modernizing the National Library, defining the country’s sea lanes, reforming the budget process, increasing competition in business, amending the Buid-Operate and Transfer law.

More bills were being pushed by Neda like one on electric vehicles, another setting up permanent evacuation centers and the remaining packages of the Duterte administration’s massive tax reform program.

Neda also wants the Consumer Act amended to include e-commerce as a result of a surge in online sales.

Edillon added that it was also important to have open access to data transmission.

“Some of these reforms have already begun producing results,” said Pernia.

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“More positive outcomes are expected in the long term,” he said.

Edited by TSB
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