Europe-PH News

Administration Praised, Told To Offer PPP Deals

December 29, 2011

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines

Europe-PH News

The government's performance for this year has gained positive marks from business leaders, who nonetheless stressed the need to roll out infrastructure projects next year or risk losing investments and miss growth targets.

Makati Business Club (MBC), Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) executives, in separate interviews, commended the Aquino administration for its management of the economy amid the global downturn and pursuing a fight against corruption.

They claimed that competitiveness, investor confidence and employment had improved. Big-ticket public private partnerships (PPP), however, were deemed a frustration given delays in project rollouts.

"I think the government was very supportive of the efforts of the private sector. The president (Benigno S. C. Aquino III) himself appeared at the First Integrity Summit [an anti-corruption drive led by MBC and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines], which is a good sign since it set the tone of honesty at the top," said Peter V. Perfecto, MBC executive director, said in a telephone interview.

FPI chairman Jesus L. Arranza, meanwhile, said: "The positive thing is, above all, the high trust rating of the president is helping the economy because it has influenced foreigners into investing here."

Messrs. Arranza and Perfecto also pointed to improvements as implemented by specific public offices this year. The FPI chairman noted Trade department efforts to simplify business procedures and revive a focus on developing the manufacturing sector. The MBC official, meanwhile, pointed to more jobs.

"Average employment is at an 11-year high. This goes to show that the promise of inclusive growth is being fulfilled," Mr. Perfecto said.

Francis T. Chua, PCCI chairman emeritus and the organization’s immediate past president, said the government’s "economic managers should be credited for the effort of keeping our growth positive in 2011. It is a very challenging year, witnessing natural calamities both locally and internationally."

"The economic collapse of the western economies, some of them our major trading partners, also put a lot of pressure on our economic growth. I would say it is a job well done," he added.

Next year, the executives said the government should follow through with public spending on infrastructure and PPP auctions, calling these critical to cornering foreign direct investments as well as tourists.

"Infrastructure will help us take advantage of opportunities abroad, since with the weak global economy, options for relocation and expansion are becoming narrow for businesses. We feel that by 2012, there can be no more excuses because it’s important to growing the economy" the MBC’s Mr. Perfecto said.

"It would be nice to see the government have the same resoluteness in pursuing foreign direct investments in the same way that they have shown resoluteness in fighting corruption," he added.

Similarly, the FPI’s Mr. Arranza said that while kickbacks and fake construction permits were real issues, the government should have "monitored the slowdown [in public investments] so they could have given better focus on making projects work while being careful." -- Eliza J. Diaz

 

Source: Business World (www.bworldonline.com); News; 27 December 2011

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