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Dominguez sees FDI rising further with infra push and business reforms


By Chino S. Leyco

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III expects foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to increase further in the coming years as the Duterte administration steps up its efforts to modernize infrastructure and reform business policies.

During his visit to New York City earlier this week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told the American business community that the Philippines has started to deliver on its “anticipated economic breakout” under President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s watch.

Dominguez noted the Philippines is now turning into one of Asia’s engines of growth despite the political noise and the recent terrorist attack in Marawi City.

He also cited the United States remains the Philippines’ “ally of long-standing” that has helped the country not only beef up its defense capability but also build effective institutions of governance.

Over the years, Dominguez said the US has been most generous in providing official development assistance (ODA) in support of the Philippines’ priority programs like education, health, energy and environmental protection.

Dominguez also said the US supported the government with projects to help the Philippines meet its Millennium Challenge targets and, just recently, provided financial assistance for the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

He also thanked the American business community based in the Philippines for its support for the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), which is designed to ensure a steady revenue flow for the government’s massive investments in infrastructure and social services.

“Our cooperation agreements perfectly complement the strategy for rapid and inclusive growth espoused by the Philippine government. We are looking to both expand and deepen our development cooperation as our economy emerges more rapidly in the following years,” he said.

“Our people fully appreciate the cooperation between our two countries. As the polls show, the US remains the country Filipinos trust most. We are happy to welcome American investments that will assist us in providing quality jobs for our people,” he added.

The finance chief also cited the numerous collaborative agreements between the Philippines and the US, the most prominent of which are the Mutual Defense Treaty and sharing of information to combat terrorism and transnational crime.

Dominguez also pointed out that since 2011, the US and the Philippines have been engaged in a Bilateral Strategic Dialogue that covers defense and security; rule of law and law enforcement; economics, development and prosperity; and, regional and global diplomatic engagement.

Meanwhile, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo told the US businessmen about the price stability in the country as well as its healthy external payments position.

“Stable inflation contributes to the overall positive investment climate in the Philippines. Our latest estimates up to 2019 show that inflation, aided by the conduct of prudent monetary policy, will stay well within the target range of 3 percent +/- 1 percentage point,” Guinigundo said.

In addition, Guinigundo said, “our healthy external payments position, marked by manageable balance of payments and ample foreign exchange reserves, gives investors comfort about the Philippines’ resilience to any external risks in the future.”

For his part, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said the government is pursuing transformative initiatives, led by flagship infrastructure projects that will ease mobility and develop alternative growth hubs across the country’s pivotal urban and rural centers.

Pernia said the administration is committed to pursuing aggressive infrastructure investment program over the medium-term to raise the country’s competitiveness and boost the economy, reaching up to 7.3 percent share of gross domestic product by 2022.

“Investors, both foreign and local, are expected to benefit from the wide-ranging income opportunities now and in the years to come,” Pernia assured.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, meanwhile, said the government’s budget program up to 2022 already incorporates the “Build-Build-Build” program, under which $160 billion to $170 billion worth of vital infrastructure projects will be rolled out over the next five years.

“The Philippines will use its fiscal space as well as proceeds of the proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Program to support our bold infrastructure development agenda,”Diokno said.

“We are keen on hitting upper middle income status by 2022 and making our economic growth more equitable partly through infrastructure development. This while we exercise fiscal discipline,” he added.

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