Para sa ekonomiya: The need for regulatory coherence

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato - The Philippine Star

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that in 2023, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s trips abroad generated up to P4 trillion in foreign investments. While a significant segment of this amount is still nascent pledges for future projects, it’s undeniably positive for our economic outlook. Investments need time to actualize, of course.

It is investment promotion agencies (IPA) such as the DTI-Board of Investments (BOI) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) that can give us a better look at the tangible progress of these investments. According to the latter, about 43 percent, or P75.4 billion of the P175.5 billion of its approved investments, could be directly attributed to President Marcos’ foreign trips.

The present administration is clearly set on winning over more foreign investors, with the President himself at the helm and leading the pitch. The Philippine economy, as he put it, is in an “exciting new phase.” I don’t think anybody’s overselling the situation when they say that, as we have the numbers to back it up. We did, after all, reportedly cap off 2023 with the highest growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) among our ASEAN neighbors.

For a majority of these pledges to take shape beyond being just that, they need an economic and business landscape that inspires confidence and actively facilitates the actualization of investments. I believe that we’re well equipped in some aspects of this, such as in our young, dynamic and educated workforce, our business-friendly rising economy and a burgeoning startup scene that’s competitive yet relatively accessible.

But on the other hand, there are noticeable wrinkles in our legislative or regulatory policies that might leave investors thinking twice or scratching their heads.

(To be continued)

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