Europe-PH News

Losing Time

December 01, 2011

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines

When people who have the money to move the country one way or the other sound the alarm, the government better pay attention -- close and fast.

Foreign investors and local businessmen are the movers and shakers of the economy because they are the providers of capital and the generators of jobs.

It couldn't get any simpler than that.

When they collectively blow the hom on state imposed strictures on doing business, the Aquino administration should scramble and loosen the regulatory screws.

Otherwise, they would be pompdy packing their bags and taking the next flight to China, Vietnam, or any other Asian host country which are more accommodating.

We, therefore, strongly advise President Aquino to heed the warning of the Joint Foreign Chambers and local business groups that time is running out on the economy because doing business in the country is getting costly and difficult.

They urged the government to amend the Constitution to open up the economy and make the business climate more favorable to foreign and local investors.

House Speaker Felidano Belmonte Jr. assured the foreign business groups that he and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile would have a real talk with the President to get him to support the "lifting of me restrictive economic provisions".

"We are grateful, Mr. Speaker, that you are pushing the amendments of certain provisions of the Constitution," a broadsheet quoted Hubert d' Aboville, president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), as saying."  While the Senate President appears to be on the same course, President Aquino keeps on saying that this is not on his priority list.  What is encouraging is that more and more business groups are supporting an opening of the economy."

D' Aboville said foreign direct investments in the country would "remain very low as it has been in the past decades" if the economy wasn't opened up.

"We are also aware that the elections in 2013 will affect the legislation process sometime in the latter part of 2012," D' Aboville told House leaders and foreign businessmen during their second dialogue in the House.

He stressed: "Time is precious, but time is running out."

Another 10 priority bills were added to the 10 priority economic bills that the House leaders agreed to speed up in their first meeting with the foreign businessmen in February.  Most of the priority bills were approved on third and final reading and transmitted to the Senate.

He said the country was losing tourists to Japan, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Julian Payne, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said amending the Constitution was "the best way to bring in foreign direct investments."

"It is not just all about money or cash," he said.

"The bottom line is, the Aquino government is missing out on foreign direct investments, modem technology, skills management training, trades and employment."


Source: People's Journal; Opinion; 26 November 2011

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