Poe wants to discuss possible Constitutional amendments
Senator Grace Poe now wants to start discussions on possible amendments in the economic provisions of the Constitution, particularly the lifting of “restrictive provisions.”
Poe noted that while the Philippines has come a long way in terms of attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), the message that the country is open for business was “somehow not getting across to a bigger market.”
In 2014, she said the Philippines reported $6.2 billion in FDIs, a 66-percent increase from the $3.7-billion investments in 2013 but still a fraction of what neighboring countries in the region get like Vietnam and Thailand, which attract around $12 billion in FDIs annually while Indonesia gets $18 billion.
“The biggest deterrent to foreign investors is the weakness of our basic governing institutions,” the senator said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Policy-making is politicized, business permits take ages to procure, and contracts are not secure. What message do these conditions send to foreign investors? The business climate certainly does not look very welcoming,” she said.
Poe, who is running for president in May, then proposed opening the market and starting the discussion on the amendment of economic provisions in the Constitution.
The lifting of restrictive provisions, she said, can be done in phases “so that local industries can also adjust and become competitive.”
She said it also is time to clean up the Foreign Investment Negative List under the Foreign Investments Act, which limits the extent of foreign equity participation in the country.
“The country has to start taking steps forward in order to compete in the global space, which is becoming more integrated and borderless. We can’t miss out on the benefits being enjoyed by citizens of other economies. Of course, safety nets for local industries must be put in place,” said the senator.
If she wins the presidency, Poe said she would encourage foreign companies to list their shares in the Philippine Stock Exchange so that Filipinos can also invest and get to own a slice of these foreign companies.
She said she would also simplify doing business in the country, including faster and less costly government processes.
“President Aquino put us on the path to institutional reform. But we will only know we have succeeded once we begin attracting the levels of foreign investment that our neighbors do,” said Poe.
To attract more foreign investments in 2016, the senator said the Philippines should also strengthen its governing bodies and streamline the permitting process.
“To become the next investment magnet in the Asean region, we must take the necessary steps to create an economy that is more welcoming to foreign partnerships. This will boost the economy, create more jobs and build a stronger business ecosystem,” she added. TVJ
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