October 27, 2011
Lailany P. Gomez
The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said the Aquino administration should organize a special experts group to recommend key reforms that will help the economy grow.
Addressing a forum on Wednesday, Hubert D'Aboville, president of ECCP, said the government must gather leading economists, businessmen and senior government leaders to recommend key reforms needed to achieve economic growth of at least 9 percent by the middle of the next presidential term.
"The new Philippine administration should consider adopting as a major high priority policy goal, doubling the gross domestic product growth rate to 9 percent and adopt and implement a plan to achieve this within three years. This had to be supported by a clear long term industry policy," D'Aboville said during the second economic forum organized by Security Bank Corp.
The inter-agency Development and Budget Coordination Committee recently revised downwards the country's economic growth target range to 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent for 2011 from an earlier assumption of 5 percent to 6 percent.
ECCP also said that while growth has improved from the dismal levels of the 80s and 90s, the average economic expansion of the last decade will not be enough to address some major challenges the Philippines faces.
"Although the highest of the last three decades, growth has not been enough to achieve any significant reduction in the percent of the population living in poverty. Growth in the Philippines has not been inclusive," D'Aboville said.
He said the Philippine economy is slowly becoming smaller than the other member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in percentage share of gross domestic product and in per capita income.
The ECCP noted current trends showed that Vietnam's per capita income may pass the Philippines in 2014.
"Indonesia's PCI measured in dollars passed the Philippines in 2009," D'Aboville said.
He added that the high population growth and political instability dragged down PCI growth in the 80s and 90s.
"In the current decade, PCI growth has increased in the Philippines to a level closer to the other five economies, except Vietnam. During this decade, inward remittance flows from an increasing number of Filipinos abroad rose to 10 percent of GDP and provided much of the 4.4 percent average annual GDP growth over the period," D'Aboville said.
He also said that a significant share of remittances should be channeled into productive investments in the domestic economy through bonds and other funds.
The ECCP further said that job creation by the private sector should receive high priority, to reduce unemployment and underemployment by 50 percent and to give Filipinos more alternatives to working abroad.
Source: Manila Times; Business; 27 October 2011