Balisakan: PH “now more open for business”

The Philippines is “now more open for business,” Socio-Economic Planning Minister Arsenio Balisacan said on Monday, urging European businessmen to consider the country as a place to invest.

“Once all of our transformative reforms and initiatives are in place, the Philippines is ready to reassert its preeminence in Southeast Asia and beyond,” he said at the first round of the 2023 Philippine Economic Briefing in Frankfurt, Germany.

“Now we are more open to business than ever, as investors have a wide choice of industries: energy, water, logistics, transport, agribusiness, manufacturing, tourism, healthcare, education and digital communications,” Balisakan added.

The government’s current goal after more than two years of the pandemic is to boost job creation and accelerate poverty reduction, he continued.

“More importantly, the focus is nothing less than the impact on economic transformation towards a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable Filipino society.”

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He said the Marcos government’s 2023-2028 Philippine Development Plan outlined political strategies, actionable reform initiatives, and legislative priorities to achieve desired socio-economic goals.

Targeted growth, Balisakan stressed, “should be inclusive growth, that is, growth that creates more, better, cleaner or sustainable jobs to reduce unemployment and allow our people to earn decent incomes.”

With a rapidly growing economy of more than 110 million people, the Philippines could serve as a “competitive launch pad” for companies looking to the wider Southeast Asia region.

“The Philippines is reaping a ‘demographic dividend’ where a growing and young working population can drive economic growth over the next two to three decades,” Balisacan said.

FDI is reported to have reached a net inflow of $10.52 billion in 2021, up 54.2 percent year-on-year after falling 71.26 percent in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.