Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said that the private sector is welcome to invest in infrastructure development and other industries, as he reassured the public that the country has the enabling business environment and ample fiscal space for key projects.
“We will just provide the environment for the private sector to thrive, and, of course, they are welcome to invest in the country whose growth rate potential is one of the highest in the region,” Diokno said.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in his first State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) last Monday that infrastructure development will remain a top priority of his administration to drive employment, agriculture, tourism, and overall economic growth.
The President said that he will build on and expand the infrastructure program of the Duterte administration.
Diokno is optimistic that, with the potential of the economy to grow rapidly in the near and medium terms, the government can fund the Marcos administration’s infrastructure program and sustain infrastructure spending at 5 to 6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
“We feel that this is our moment. The Philippine economy can move much faster this time. And so a stronger economy means more revenues down the road,” Diokno added.
The head of the Department of Finance (DOF) cited the structural reforms of the Duterte administration, including the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, reinforced the country’s solid macroeconomic fundamentals, enabling the country to withstand the harsh effects of the pandemic and chart a clear path to recovery.
“The Duterte Administration left this government a sound tax system. It’s a better tax system than he inherited from the previous administration, and we will enhance the improved tax system. So that will give us more revenues,” Diokno said.
There are around 200 ready-to-implement infrastructure projects and that there are spaces for private sector participation up to the level of local governments.
The DOF chief also cited the approval of the amendments to the Public Service Act (PSA) as another game-changing reform that would encourage investors to come in and implement some of the projects under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The Marcos administration plans to capitalize on the recently enacted economic liberalization laws, including the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act and Foreign Investments Act, to make the Philippines an investment destination.