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Businessmen urged to invest in R&D

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Businessmen urged to invest in R&D
Shoppers looked for various goods at a supermarket in Quezon City on September 11, 2022.
STAR / Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos has tapped the support of the business sector in enhancing the country’s research and development (R&D) to boost local industries and reduce dependence on imported goods.

In a speech at a business forum in Pasay City on Tuesday, Marcos said the country must consider import substitution amid the soaring commodity prices.

Inflation hit eight percent in November, the highest since 2008, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“Import substitution is still a good idea not only for foreign exchange reserve but also to keep our inflation rate down,” Marcos said during the 11th Arangkada Philippines Forum 2022 at the Marriott Hotel.

“To aid the transition that we are talking about, I invite you to invest in key areas such as education and skills training, digitalization of processes and research and development,” he said.

The country’s gross expenditure on R&D was at 0.16 percent, way below the recommended spending of one percent by the United Nations and Southeast Asia’s average of 0.76 percent, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.

The Marcos administration has launched the medium-term fiscal framework and the eight-point socioeconomic agenda.

Marcos said the government would need the assistance of foreign governments and private sector partners to bring in much-needed investments in modern and efficient farming and fisheries, new transport and logistics infrastructure as well as new projects in conventional and renewable energy generation.

He cited the government’s efforts to accelerate the country’s economic growth by further easing travel and mobility restrictions, implementing economic reforms and improving economic cooperation with trade and investment partners.

Marcos also cited government’s initiatives to enhance ease of doing business and public-private partnerships as well as improved bureaucratic efficiency through information and communication technology development and digitalization.

Marcos gave assurance that the Philippines would become a viable and sustainable destination for domestic and foreign investors.

The Philippine economy continues to recover from the negative impact of the pandemic and is on track to maintain its strong economic performance and achieve the government’s growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year, he said.

“The country’s growth rate looks healthy, the peso is becoming a little stronger relative to the other currencies, the unemployment rate is quite reasonable considering the current situation,” Marcos said.

FERDINAND MARCOS JR.

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