NIÑA MYKA PAULINE ARCEO
The Manila Times
INTERNATIONAL roadshows such as the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) series have raised the country’s profile and led to substantial investment pledges, the Finance department said on Monday. “Personally engaging with top-level investors increases the Philippines’ visibility in the international arena, especially in untapped markets,” Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a statement. “Establishing bilateral economic relations is in line with the President’s call to form strategic alliances with the international community,” he added. The Finance department said that PEBs, investor roadshows, and international dialogues had generated, among othersZ – P800 billion in investment pledges from Singapore and Indonesia; – P229 billion in investment pledges from the United States of America; – P157.0 billion in approved foreign investments from Germany; – P293.1 million in approved investments from the United Kingdom; and – P3.8 billion in approved foreign investments, $600 million in infrastructure investment pledges, and P708.2 billion in investment deals from Japan. “Investors are able to gather insight into the Philippines’ key macroeconomic strengths, robust performance, commitment to structural reforms and sound policy environment as a result of these events,” the department added. Regular stagings, said Diokno, keep investors updated on the Philippines’ priorities and policy thrusts. He added that fund managers, investment houses and fixed-income investors were particularly interested in these and the country’s growth outlook. Economic managers went to Qatar and Dubai last week, and the Finance department said that prospective investors had expressed interest in infrastructure and fixed-income instruments by way of the soon-to-be-operational Maharlika Investment Fund. Highlighting the country’s enhanced business environment and demographic advantage of having a young and highly skilled workforce, it added, also allows the government to attract foreign direct investments. “When visiting a foreign country, we look into areas that will complement the needs of both parties,” Diokno said. “For instance, our demographic sweet spot is a plus for investors looking to operate in the country. Another area of interest for many investors is our newly liberalized renewable energy sector, as well as the availability of critical minerals needed for clean technologies.” The international engagements also allow the government to obtain input and feedback as well as recommendations on how to further enhance investment policies. Investor roundtables in Japan and the Middle East were said to have prompted a timely review and adjustment of policies regarding the ease of doing business, in particular value-added tax exemptions and refund claims, fiscal incentives granted under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, and double taxation avoidance. “We should take advantage of this time now that the pandemic is over,” Diokno said. “We will continue with these targeted economic missions and establish bilateral ties to support our agenda for prosperity for a future-proof and sustainable economy,” he added.