Europe-PH News

Foreign Investors Offer Bright Outlook For Economy

February 02, 2012

Virgil B. Lopez

Europe-PH News

Foreign businessmen said the Philippines may post an economic growth of as high as six percent this year if the government will improve its spending programs, corner higher overseas capital, and expedite implementation of private-led infrastructure projects.

The Philippine economy, as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP), may have grown between 3.6 percent and four percent in 2011 due to effects of weak global trade and state underspending, according to Ruperto Majuca, assistant director-general at the National Economic and Development Authority.

But the Philippines is expected to make a rebound this year, John Casey, president of the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, said if the country can attract higher investments.

The country’s economy may grow anywhere from five to six percent in 2012 supported by increased infrastructure and social services spending, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a text message.

"We must pick up the pace of foreign direct investment (FDI) to sustain the historically high economic growth in 2010. The Philippines has never achieved the levels of FDI that Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam have achieved," Casey said.

Data from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) show the Philippines attracted only $1.7 billion of FDI in 2010 as compared with $8 billion for Vietnam and $13.3 billion for Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Casey said fresh investments can be expected from seven sectors that need to be developed in the coming years.

These sectors are infrastructure, agribusiness, business process outsourcing, creative industries, manufacturing and logistics, mining; and tourism, medical travel and retirement.

Earlier, the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) said that developing these seven key sectors can generate $75 billion in FDIs and 10 million jobs over the next 10 years.

"The Asian Century is well underway, and the Philippines must elevate its position to benefit from the foreign investment opportunities in the Seven Big Winners industry sectors. This also comes at a time when the impacts of multiple free trade agreements are starting to be felt across participating economies," he said.

For his part, Hubert d'Aboville, president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), is hoping that new investments will be realized in construction and job creation in 2012.

"This is good news, and we trust that many things will move faster soon. We have talked about PPP for a very long time. Let's finally implement major projects this year," d'Aboville said.

Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao had reported that the government may expedite the implementation of eight to 16 PPP projects in 2012.

With an estimated value of P142 billion, Canilao said the projects include water sources, airports, classrooms and expressways.

Last year, the government estimated to roll out at least 10 PPP projects but ended up awarding only the four kilometer Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Project.

The project was awarded to Ayala Corp., one of the oldest conglomerates in the country which has interests in banking, telecommunications, water distribution, and real estate, among others.


Source: Sun Star Network; News; 29 January 2012

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