Gov’t committed to sustain transformative PH econ growth, NEDA tells Canadian investors

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) assured Canadian investors that the Philippine government is committed to sustaining transformative economic growth in the country.

This commitment aims to continually improve the investment climate in the Philippines and create more opportunities for businesses from investors worldwide.

During the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) held in Toronto, Canada, on July 13, 2023, NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan provided insights into the economic prospects in the Philippines and apprised Canadian investors of the significant economic policies and strategies currently being implemented by the Philippine government.

These initiatives aim to foster an environment conducive to investment and encourage potential investors to participate in the country’s development as partners.

“This year, we expect to grow by 6 to 7 percent despite the external headwinds. We aim for 6.5 to 8 percent per year in the longer term. With that kind of growth, we should be able to transform the economy dramatically and reduce poverty substantially. We have been implementing many structural and policy reforms to achieve this objective,” said the NEDA Secretary during the open forum segment of the PEB.

In the discussions, Balisacan further explained that massive infrastructure development is key to enhancing the potential growth of the Philippine economy’s growth potential.

He also underscored the importance of strengthening upskilling initiatives and human capital development institutions—such as schools—to meet the skill requirements of emerging markets and technologies to achieve this goal.

Additionally, Balisacan emphasized the need to diversify the economy. “For many years, the economy has depended on domestic consumption growth… but to sustain its rapid transformation, we need to go beyond that,” he said.

He elaborated on the need to identify new drivers of economic growth in various sectors, such as tourism, creative industries, and agribusiness, among others, to expand and diversify the country’s economy and make it more resilient to shocks.

The NEDA chief also reiterated the Marcos administration’s policy thrust to pursue more trade partnerships to support the expansion of economic opportunities in the Philippines.

“He [President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.] noticed that of all the Southeast Asian countries, we are among those with the least number of bilateral and regional partnerships or agreements, and he wants that changed because we need to be more open for business to grow the economy,” Balisacan said.

During the open forum, Canadian investors raised questions regarding the Philippines’ current efforts to adopt climate risk adaptation measures and improve the ease of doing business there.

In response, the NEDA Secretary assured investors that the Philippine government is making strides in dismantling the barriers to investments in the country through significant structural and policy reforms and improvements in the regulatory environment.

The government is also focused on scaling up efforts to adopt technologies that would climate-proof vulnerable sectors, such as agriculture.

By the end of the briefing, the NEDA Secretary encouraged investors to consider investing in the 194 Infrastructure Flagship Projects of the Marcos administration, noting that over 30 percent of these projects would be funded either fully or partially through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).

Private sector representatives from the Philippines also welcomed investors to consider the Philippines in light of the country’s promise of reaping the benefits of the demographic dividend.

“Our country is more open to business now than ever before. Investment opportunities, especially in PPPs, exist in key infrastructure areas such as energy, water, airports, logistics, telecommunications, expressways, railways, hospitals, and schools. We also invite you to explore exciting opportunities in our emerging growth drivers: agribusiness, mining, manufacturing, tourism, the creative industries, health, information technology, and business process management,” Balisacan said.