Diokno welcomes private sector initiatives to invest in infrastructure, other industries

Diokno welcomes private sector initiatives to invest in infrastructure, other industries

By Tracy Cabrera

Con-current finance secretary Benjamin Diokno believes the Philippines, with one of the fastest growing economies in ASEAN, will be the next investment hub in the region. (Photo courtesy of Interaksyon)

MANILA — Reassuring the public that the country has the enabling business environment and ample fiscal space for key government projects, finance secretary Benjamin Diokno has welcomed the private sector’s initiative to invest in infrastructure development and other industries.

“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,” the former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor announced.

In his first State of the Nation Address (SoNA) last week on July 25, President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. disclosed that infrastructure development will remain a top priority of his administration to drive employment, agriculture, tourism, and overall economic growth.

The President had cited said that he would be building on and expanding the infrastructure program of the previous Duterte administration and to this, Diokno has expressed optimism that with the potential of the Philippine 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,” the former BSP governor explained.

He added that 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,” he noted.

The interim finance chief also shared that 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.

In addition, Diokno gave notice to 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 Public Service Act will open up private sector participation or international investment in telecommunication, toll roads, shipping, etc. As the President has said (in his SoNA), the state of the economy is sound. So, my advice to the private sector is to trust your government. We’re behind you,” he concluded. (ai/mtvn)

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