Philippines needs $3b in investments for massive job generation

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - The Philippines needs to generate billions of dollars of investments to create enough jobs to sustain economic growth and address poverty, government economists said yesterday.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who is also National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) director-general, told reporters that it would take about US$3 billion in new investments to generate 3 million to 4 million jobs yearly. It is the number of jobs needed to sustain economic growth while also curbing poverty and making growth "inclusive," according to the World bank.

Balisacan said there was a need to stimulate investments in infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and other sectors that provide jobs even for people without higher education or technical training.

The need for jobs that raise real wages or bring people out of poverty is a "challenge" and the Philippines needs 14 million jobs between now and 2016, according to World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi.

"The domestic job market in the formal, services, manufacturing, industries and overseas are not enough to absorb so many people getting into the labour force. This means that all other sectors in the economy, particularly agribusiness and agriculture, must contribute more significantly to address joblessness and reduce poverty. Job creation is even more urgent in Mindanao as jobs contribute also to social cohesion," Konishi said.

Private economists agree that job generation should be top priority especially since a benign inflation means one less concern for the government. Inflation is seen to stay within the 3 to 5 per cent target band of the Development Budget Coordination Committee.

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