March 6, 2018

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) says that the ranking of American media company US News which placed the Philippines on the top spot of “best countries to invest in,” attests to the growing international confidence in the administration’s reform agenda.

“This piece of good news proves that we are right on track with critical reforms that we want in place. Our efforts to create a more business- and investor-friendly environment are gaining traction in the past year and a half and the world is already seeing it,” Socioeconomic Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

Pernia attributed the Philippines’ ranking to its high growth potential on the back of its strong macroeconomic fundamentals, the implementation of the first package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), and the massive infrastructure development program.

This is apart from the Philippines’ young vibrant workforce and abundant natural resources, Pernia said.

“The positive feedback motivates us to pursue even more reforms and programs. We are working hard to reach our medium-term targets in line with the development strategies spelled out in Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022. Our ‘Build, Build, Build’ campaign will boost the country’s international competitiveness. With most of the flagship projects completed or nearly so by 2022, our infrastructure would be at par with our Asean neighbors,” Pernia said.

Under the government’s Build, Build, Build program, the Philippines is raising infrastructure spending from nearly 4 percent of GDP in 2017 to around 7 percent by 2022, or an investment of roughly P8 trillion over 6 years. Thus far, the NEDA Board has already approved 24 infrastructure flagship projects (IFP) amounting to P1.126 trillion.

Pernia likewise noted that the move to liberalize the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) which is now up for the NEDA Board’s approval will likely boost foreign direct investments.

The impending passage of the ease of doing business bill in Congress also bolsters confidence to invest in the country, he added.

“All of these are geared towards our goal of becoming an upper middle-income country before 2022 accompanied by a marked reduction in poverty,” Pernia said.