Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III pitched before foreign investors Friday the Philippines’ “game-changing undertakings” to ensure a strong, inclusive and resilient recovery from the pandemic as he urged them to take part in these initiatives to help achieve a ‘sustainable and better future” for the Filipino people.
These gamechangers include a fast-tracked digitalization program across the Philippine bureaucracy, the timely passage of the corporate tax reform law, the establishment of a national ID system, measures to improve the ease of doing business, the sustained modernization of the country’s infrastructure, and ambitious climate adaptation and mitigation projects, Dominguez said.
Dominguez said investment partnerships with foreign investors can be strengthened in the areas of infrastructure development, manufacturing, digital technology, renewable energy (RE) and research and development (R&D) activities.
“This is a good time to expand collaborations. Our countries are emerging from the pandemic, led by the adept public policy and strong private sector initiatives,” Dominguez said in today’s virtual Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) with the different foreign chambers in the country.
Dominguez also reaffirmed the Philippines’ rosy post-pandemic economic outlook in his pre-recorded message to be aired later during the 10th anniversary celebration of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Inc. (ICCPI)
“The Philippines is a vibrant market once again. We are determined to return to the pattern of rapid growth momentarily interrupted by the pandemic. We are more than ready for the new and better normal,” Dominguez said at the ICCPI event.
With COVID-19 infections declining at a steady rate owing to the Philippines’ scaled-up vaccination drive, Dominguez reiterated the economic team’s earlier assessment of achieving a full reopening of the economy by the onset of the New Year.
Dominguez said he expects the 7.1 percent growth of the economy in the third quarter, along with the increase in foreign direct investments (FDIs), sound financial position and continuing fiscal discipline to further lead to a better gross domestic product (GDP) performance in the fourth quarter.
In calling on the foreign chambers to help spread the word and encourage more investors “to be involved in (the Philippines’) game-changing undertakings” Dominguez cited the government’s measures to transition to a digital economy, such as the use of electronic channels by the main revenue-generating agencies to enable them to overshoot their collection targets, and the migration of transactions online to develop broad-based and inclusive capital markets, such as those initiated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr).
Dominguez also underscored the timely passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) that offered businesses the biggest stimulus package ever to help them recover from the pandemic; and modernized the fiscal incentives system to encourage more high-value investments and innovation.
He said CREATE complements the other reform efforts initiated by the Duterte administration to make the Philippines more business friendly.
These include the Anti Red-Tape Act (ARTA), the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Act, the infrastructure modernization program, and the establishment of a national ID system, among other measures.
The Philippines will take full advantage of its demographic sweet spot, where its young and talented population means a workforce prepared to swiftly adjust to the transformations taking place in the economy, Dominguez said.
He said the remaining period of President Duterte’s term will be focused on rapidly modernizing governance and accelerating the rollout of the infrastructure program.
Dominguez said the Duterte administration will also continue to push for the congressional passage of economic liberalization bills and the remaining packages of the tax reform program covering property valuation and passive income and financial intermediaries.
He urged entrepreneurs to maximize the impact of these business-friendly measures by shifting to the circular economy and promoting sustainable business models.
For its part, the government has started undertaking practical actions to fight climate change, such as launching its Sustainable Finance Roadmap; pushing a ban on single-use plastics; partnering with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to accelerate the transition from coal to clean energy; finalizing a framework for the issuance of the Philippines’ first-ever sovereign green bonds; and tapping the expertise of Filipino experts to engage Filipinos in climate-vulnerable communities and prepare them to execute localized action plans, Dominguez said.
“I hope the foreign chambers in the Philippines will help us spread the word and encourage more investors to be involved in all of these game-changing undertakings. We look forward to your continued support and to working with you more closely in achieving a sustainable and better future for the Filipino people,” Dominguez said.
He cited the Philippines’ increasing FDIs, growing remittance inflows from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), ample international reserves, stable exchange rate and rising revenue collections as indicators of an economy on the way to a strong recovery.
“After so many challenging months, the numbers are now all in our favor,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez also cited the country’s solid fiscal position under the Duterte administration which is reflected in its sustainable debt-to-GDP ratio, high credit ratings, successful Samurai and other bond issuances amid the pandemic, to name a few, as the other factors that will lead to the country’s strong economic rebound while it ramps up vaccinations against COVID-19 “ to roll back this pandemic for good.”
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