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90% investment fall looms large for finance team

Carlos Dominguez

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. KING RODRIGUEZ/ Presidential Photo (FILE)

This figure loomed large as the Duterte administration prepared to send off an economic team to attract US businessmen to the Philippines — new investments declined by 90.3 percent in the first half of 2017.

The gloomy picture, presented at a Senate budget hearing and cited by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, cast a long shadow over an announcement by the Department of Finance (DOF) about sending an economic team to the United States to present the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure plan and a blueprint for tax reforms.

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Drilon had expressed alarm at the figures presented at a hearing last week on the budget of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

In a statement, Drilon said data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on the latest Foreign Direct Investment showed a “significant deceleration” in new investments.

The entry of new investments, not money reinvested in existing businesses, went down by 90.3 percent in the first six months of 2017 — $141 million — compared to the same period last year — $1.448 billion.

More urgent

This would make the economic team’s mission more urgent. The DOF statement said the team, led by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, would be at the fourth overseas Philippine Economic Briefing in New York City, on Oct. 11 with “a better-rounded picture on key developments in the Philippines’ fast-growing economy.”

The DOF said the focus of the presentation would be on the “golden age of infrastructure” being ushered in by the Duterte administration.

The ambitious plan calls for 75 flagship “game-changing” infrastructure projects. Half would be completed within President Duterte’s term, which expires in 2022. Proponents want to spend up to a mind-boggling P9 trillion.

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TAGS: foreign investments, Franklin Drilon, NEDA, Rodrigo Duterte
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