Neda pushes passage of priority economic bills in 2020
The state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is seeking Congress’ approval this year of pending bills aimed at bringing down the capital requirement for foreign retailers and granting wider participation among foreign investors, among other priority economic measures.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda chief Ernesto M. Pernia told a press conference on Monday that so far during the current 18th Congress, the Duterte administration’s priority economic bills were advancing quite well as some of them reached various stages of approval in the two houses of Congress.
But Neda Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said there remained a number of bills they wanted passed within the year before legislators get busy in 2021 as many of them would campaign for reelection ahead of the 2022 national elections.
For Edillon, the top priority bills included the proposed Neda Charter, which would strengthen the culture of planning in the government; amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Law to bring down the investment threshold for foreign retailers that wanted to do business in the country; amendments to the Foreign Investment Act; creation of the Department of Water and the Water Regulatory Commission; the Disaster Resiliency Bill, and the National Land Use Act (Nalua).
The other bills that Neda wanted passed within the next 12 months included the creation of a unified penology system; the modernization of the national library; the Philippine Maritime Zones and Archipelagic Sea Lanes bills; the Budget Reform Bill; the National Competition Policy; amendment to the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law; Evacuation Center Act; E-Vehicle Act; Local Population Development Act, and the remaining packages of the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program, Edillon said.
Neda is also pushing for the amendment of the Consumer Act to include e-commerce given the surge in online sales transactions, Edillon added.
With the entry of the third telco player happening by the second half of 2020, Edillon said it was also important to pass the Open Access in Data Transmission bill.
“In cooperation with the legislative branch, the government has introduced and implemented several important reforms that have short- to long-term high beneficial impacts. Some of these reforms have already begun producing results and more positive outcomes are expected over the long term,” Pernia said, citing the recent passage of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, the Seal of Good Governance Act, the Philippine Identification System, the Rice Tariffication Law, the Philippine Innovation Act and the Universal Health Care Act. —Ben O. de Vera INQ
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