Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has showcased before Japanese investors the Philippines’ “brightening economic prospects” supported by a strong financial position and the Duterte administration’s game-changing initiatives, urging them to take part in the country’s shift to a “new and better” post-pandemic recovery.
“The Philippines is more than ready for a new and better normal,” he said in stressing that business partnerships with Japan can be strengthened in the areas of infrastructure development, manufacturing, digital technology, renewable energy (RE) and research and development (R&D) activities.
“We have gone through a difficult episode and proved that our institutions are strong enough to keep our people safe and prosperous. We have laid down firm foundations to ensure a stable recovery towards a more inclusive economy. We have what it takes to do this,” Dominguez said during the virtual Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) Wednesday attended by key government officials and business leaders from Japan.
He said these “game changers” in the country’s business landscape include the fast-tracked digitalization program across the Philippine bureaucracy; the timely passage of the corporate income tax (CIT) reform law; the establishment of a national ID system; measures to further improve the ease of doing business; the sustained modernization of the country’s infrastructure under President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature program “Build, Build, Build;” and the government’s ambitious plan to adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change.
On top of being the Philippines’ biggest provider of official development assistance (ODA), he said Japan has also been a strong supporter of “Build, Build, Build” program through 26 ongoing loans that cover various big-ticket projects, including the country’s first-ever underground rail system –the Metro Manila Subway.
Japan is also the Philippines’ top export market, he said.
“All of these facts show how Japan has become a valuable partner in our development story. We are optimistic that Japan will continue to play a key role in our economic resurgence,” he said.
Dominguez said he expects the 7.1-percent growth of the economy in the third quarter, along with the FDI surge, sound financial position and continued fiscal discipline, to lead to a better gross domestic product (GDP) performance in the year’s final quarter.
“With brightening prospects for the economy, we expect to do even better in the fourth quarter as we continue to relax mobility restrictions,” he added.
In inviting Japanese investors “to be involved in (the Philippines’) game-changing undertakings” Dominguez cited the government’s measures to transition to a digital economy, such as the use of electronic channels by the main revenue-generating agencies to enable them to overshoot their collection targets, and the migration of transactions online to develop broad-based and inclusive capital markets, such as those initiated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr).
Dominguez further said the Philippines will take full advantage of its demographic “sweet spot,” where its young and talented population means a workforce prepared to swiftly adjust to the transformations taking place in the economy around the world.
He urged entrepreneurs to maximize the impact of these business-friendly measures by shifting other sustainable practices to the circular economy.