Foreign chambers prod gov’t on delayed reforms
Economic growth and the inflow of local and foreign investments last year remained far behind expectations, prompting the Joint Foreign Chambers to renew calls for the government to implement critical measures that will boost the country’s competitiveness.
The calls made by investors pointed largely to instilling transparency, curbing corruption, ensuring fair competition and a level playing field for businesses, providing the needed infrastructure to roll out investments, and fast-tracking the implementation of the flagship Public Private Partnership (PPP) program of the Aquino administration.
Based on documents provided during an investors’ forum Thursday, net foreign direct investments last year were estimated to be likely the same as the 2010 level of $1.7 billion, far below the $7-billion target, while exports were likely 5-7 percent lower last year than the $64 billion posted in 2010 given weak foreign demand.
John Casey, president of the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, said in his speech at the Arangkada Philippines Forum that the “Philippines has never achieved the levels of foreign direct investment that Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam have achieved.”
“In 2011, Indonesia had a 20-percent increase in FDI approvals to $19.3 billion, while the Philippines remained below $4 billion in approval and $1 billion in actual inflow. While we can acknowledge this figure does not include some of the continuing reinvestment from existing corporations invested here, FDI remains disappointing and we run the risk of some lesser developed countries receiving higher levels of FDI than the Philippines,” Casey said.
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