IMMEDIATELY after being sworn in, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. set to work to revive the pandemic-hit economy by courting foreign investors.
In his first State of the Nation address in July, Marcos abandoned lockdowns altogether as a measure against Covid-19 – a move welcomed by the majority of the population, especially the business community.
Although the pandemic is far from over, the president sees better days ahead.
“The Philippine economy has experienced robust growth since last year and is back on its way to upper-middle-income country status, achievable in the next few years,” he said.
For the Philippines to be an upper-middle-income economy, the country must meet the World Bank’s gross national income (GNI) per capita threshold of $4,256 to $13,205.
That’s not too ambitious a goal, given that the Philippines’ GNI per capita rose to $3,640 in 2021 from $3,430 in 2020 based on World Bank data.
Marcos stressed the importance of foreign investment if the country is to achieve its economic goals.
“A lot of that will be foreign investment in the Philippines. And when I talk about foreign investment, I’m mostly talking about capital-intensive investment, because if we look at our GDP numbers, a lot of the contribution to the GDP has been in our service sector,” he said.
Seeing the dynamism of the manufacturing sector, Marcos said it was essential to let foreign investors know that investing in the Philippines is more profitable.
“I think we’re going in the right direction; and I think if we continue down that path and are able to attract investors into this new investment climate that we’re starting to create in the Philippines, then I think that with the role that foreign direct investment will play, I think we could be successful,” he said.
Marcos said he expects capital to flow into areas such as infrastructure, energy and agriculture. He was also keen to push the digitization of the Philippines.
Marcos guaranteed potential investors secure and mutually beneficial partnerships.
“For investors, doing business in the Philippines is an opportunity to reap the benefits of a vibrant economy,” he said.
During a visit to the United States, Marcos told American businessmen that the Philippines offers investment opportunities in areas such as information technology and business process management, products and appliances. medical, electric vehicle and battery production, agro-industry and telecommunications.
“Despite the external headwinds, the resilience of the Philippine economy – bolstered by sound policies and decisive leadership – makes us confident about our future,” Marcos said.
The president said the country’s workforce is its “greatest asset”.
“They’re ready to take the cudgel, they’re ready to work for the country, they’re ready to do what needs to be done to move the country forward,” Marcos said.
“For international investors, the Philippines offers a high quality workforce, a large consumer market and a wide range of tax and non-tax incentives. At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining strong macroeconomic fundamentals by providing a clear development roadmap,” he added.
“Rebounding from the pandemic, the Philippine economy has experienced robust growth since last year and is on its way back to upper-middle-income country status, achievable in the coming years,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said.