MANILA – Opportunities for the recovery of the mining sector abound given the policy boost and continued demand for its products, and companies just need to maximize the sector’s potential, a Finance department official said.
Finance Assistant Secretary Ma. Teresa Habitan, who also serves as alternate chair of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-IETE), said contribution of the sector to the country’s annual output is only around 1 percent “so there is still much room to contribute to it.”
“Truly, the natural resources of a country can drive its growth, so extractives (are) among the main economic drivers in many countries. The Philippines has yet to fully maximize this potential. To do this, the sector should take advantage of its strengths,” she said during the PH-EITE event on Thursday.
Habitan identified several measures expected to propel the sector, including increasing its contribution to gross value added (GVA) especially on metallic mines; steady growth in exports; proper handling of commodity price shocks; and pricing of non-metallic commodities that is independent of the global market.
She said growth drivers also include consistent generation of employment opportunities; openness to adapting to necessary changes brought about by extreme events; keenness on automation; and a degree of optimism for the improvement of the overall business environment after the pandemic.
Habitan said risks to the sector’s recovery come both from within the country and overseas but added “quantitative data shows that companies are recovering quickly and steadily.”
She said it also indicates “optimistic perspective.”
“On top of some favorable government legislation and opportune changes in the global economy, the environment is rife for recent losses to be recouped, and pre-pandemic growth to resume, if not expand much more, post-pandemic,” she added.
Habitan said the government has continuously implemented measures to boost the sector and one proof to this is the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 130 that lifted the nine-year moratorium on new mining projects.
She said the EO is projected to increase mineral production by around PHP15 billion yearly until 2023, and by PHP43 billion annually until 2027.
The EO is seen to entice more players and increase exports by around USD1 billion to USD2 billion annually, employ as much as 1.3 times more workers, and bring in around PHP34 billion in government revenues by way of taxes and fees, she said.
“Moreover, the passage of the new tax regime, and the implementation of the CREATE (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives) Act that reduced the corporate income tax from 30 to 25 percent will allow companies to reinvest savings towards further expansion,” she added. (PNA)