Philippines Pushing for Public Investment


The country’s economy is seen to grow by 7% in the next five years should investments improve, the Philippine economic planning chief said on Wednesday.

“We need to sustain rapid growth… We need to continue ramping up investments in infrastructure but we also need to continue pushing for higher levels of public investments if we want development,” Arsenio M. Balisacan said in Makati, Philippine news agency GMA reported.

“Investment in human capital is the best step… in making ourselves very competitive with our neighbors. Investments in human resiliency is another priority,” he added.

According to Balisacan, the country also needs to deepen policy and institutional reforms which would improve business climate.

“This should be very pronounced in the next Philippine Development Plan. Infrastructure is a major problem in relation to our neighbors. It is not enough that we are improving. We have to improve much faster than what we are seeing in our neighbors to join the ranks,” he said.

“If we address these fundamental constraints our growth including energy will sustain a growth of 7% for the next five years… In one generation you can join the ranks of rich countries,” Balisacan said.
Also seen to boost the country’s economic performance is the widened access to energy nationwide.

“Access to energy for all is a strategy for inclusive growth–not just quantity but also quality and affordability of energy,” Balisacan said. “Energy is so crucial in achieving our aspiration to achieve a growth of 7% that’s inclusive.”

“The Philippines needs to continue high public investments in health, education, social protection. We also want to make sure these are sustainable investments,” he said.

The secretary also said that employment must be addressed to be able to achieve the 7% economic growth.
“Our economy has not been able to generate jobs sufficiently in high productivity sectors and areas. The plan is to get those currently employed in low productivity sectors to high productivity sectors,” he said.

Balisacan earlier said that the gross domestic product could reach 8% in the next six years, effectively gaining membership in the upper middle cluster.

The latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority shows that the Philippine economy grew by 6% for the third quarter of 2015.