Economic team woos investors from Singapore to do biz in PH

·3 min read

THE administration’s economic team committed to establish a more business-friendly environment for investors during a Philippine Economic Briefing alongside President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s official state visit to Singapore.

Speaking before the Singaporean and international business community, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno wooed investors to do business in the Philippines, reaffirming the two countries’ strong and enduring ties in trade, commerce, and development.

“As we rebuild our economy and gun for rapid, broad-based growth in the next six years, we have opened our doors even wider for mutually beneficial investments. This is why we believe that this is the best time to do business in the Philippines,” said Diokno in a statement.

Marcos and his economic team arrived in Singapore last Sept. 6 for the second leg of his inaugural state visits.

The President’s two-day state visit to Singapore kicked off with a meeting with the Filipino community at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Ho Bee Auditorium.

Marcos said that his state visit to Singapore aims to fully maximize trade and economic cooperation between Singapore and the Philippines.

He said Singapore was already the Philippines’ highest investor in 2021 with Singaporean companies investing in big ticket projects in telecommunications, infrastructure, start-up and innovation, renewable energy and healthcare.

Diokno said the Marcos administration will continue to build a robust economy for a faster, greener and more inclusive growth.

“Our economic prospects are bright and promising. In the second quarter of this year, the economy grew by 7.4 percent. The expansion was broad-based, with positive contributions from all three major sectors – agriculture, industry, and services,” said Diokno.

Diokno said the country’s GDP growth is an important achievement given ongoing risks posed by rising commodity prices and current geopolitical tensions.

He also cited increasing investor confidence with the Philippines’ foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows reaching a record US$10.5 billion in 2021 and $4.2 billion for the first five months of 2022.

Diokno told business leaders in Singapore that the Marcos administration will maintain high investments in infrastructure equivalent to five to six percent of GDP annually, including the expansion of the Philippine’s digital infrastructure to quicken the country’s shift to the digital economy.

He said the government will harness the public-private partnership mechanism to welcome impactful projects consistent with the country’s development goals.

He also cited game-changing economic reforms that make doing business in the Philippines more friendly. These include the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or Create, and the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investments Act, and Public Service Act.

“The historic passage of our economic liberalization measures widens the space for international firms to invest in previously protected sectors and form joint ventures with Filipino companies,” said Secretary Diokno.

Singapore has been the Philippines’ top source of foreign direct investments and sixth largest trading partner.

With an estimate of 200,000 OFWs living and working in Singapore — 58 percent of whom are registered as professionals and skilled workers, while 42 percent are employed as household service workers — Singapore was the second largest source of overseas Filipino remittances worldwide for the year 2021 that amounted to $2.20 billion.

“We face the next six years with full confidence in our bold socio-economic agenda. With capable leaders at the forefront of a robust economic plan, the Philippines is poised for a bright economic future. We are committed to turning this vision into a reality for the Filipino people,” said Diokno.