Philippines still a sweet spot for international investors

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The Philippines remains a key investment destination in Asia. At the Euromoney Philippine Investment Forum, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said the country is still an attractive investment destination since the economic outlook remains strong with capital markets being deepened and developed, programs to improve infrastructure, and expansion of trade and industries.

Espenilla said the government is on track to hit its 6.5-percent gross domestic product growth goal for this year, while 7.0 to 8.0 percent economic growth in the medium term is expected.

“The Philippines today offers viable investment opportunities,” he noted.

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For Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza, foreign investors are keen on investing in the country, with its young workforce, competitive labor cost, and incentives given particularly by the agency.

But she noted that aside from foreign investors, investments of local companies in PEZA are also robust.

Plaza said about 22 percent of investments in PEZA were from Filipino companies, next only to Japanese firms which account 40 percent of total investments as the top investors in PEZA.

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Dow Chemical Country Director Roberto Batungbacal also echoed that some of the biggest investments in the country’s manufacturing sector came from local firms.

“A lot of success in the manufacturing sector is FDI (foreign direct investments), but local players are drivers of growth,” said Batungbacal.

“If the local investors have strong confidence in their economy, then the foreigners will see that,” he added.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President George Barcelon said the Philippines is an investment hub in ASEAN, with its over 100 million population being a big market base for investors.

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Edwin Bautista, president and chief executive officer at UnionBank of the Philippines, cited result of an earlier study released by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) indicating the Philippines could become the 20th largest economy by 2050 among 32 countries.

PwC forecasts the Philippine gross domestic product outpacing even that of Spain, Australia, Colombia, Argentina, Poland, and the Netherlands.

Bautista also noted a World Bank (WB) study ranking the Philippines among the top five in terms of productivity index and growth potential index.

“So the opportunities are there, the potential is there, how can we realize that potential? It all boils down to infrastructure and medium-term education,” he said.

(Story courtesy of the Philippine News Agency)

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