Candidates fail to impress JFC

The Joint Foreign Chambers said Monday the group is not satisfied with the economic platforms of presidential candidates and wants the next administration to keep current reforms and make them bolder and more inclusive.

“We expect to see a continuation of reforms that the previous administration had introduced and build on that,” JFC and American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines advisor John Forbes said during the 5th Arangkada Forum held at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.

Arangkada is a government policy watch group composed of the JFC and Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Headquarters Inc. that assesses and makes recommendations on improving the economy and business transactions.

JFC noted that 2016 presidential candidates, who were given the chance moment to present their economic platform during the event, did not address the question of how to improve Philippine economy.

The group conceded that despite the failure of the current administration to meet its goals, the program to lower poverty rate gained momentum, while foreign direct investments significantly improved.

“This government has raised revenues well, close to what previous administrations combined were able to generate in their time,” said Forbes.

Data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development showed that FDI generated by the previous administrations from presidents Marcos to Arroyo reached $5.5 billion compared with $6.2 billion in 2014, based on the JFC data.

The foreign chambers said they would help the government to raise the FDI by two to two-and-a-half times from the current level in the next 10 years.

The group cited the success and the benefits of the public-private partnership program to the consumers. It said the privatization of water services effectively reduced water cost and expanded distribution channels to reach even the remote areas in Metro Manila.

“PPP brings down prices. It makes prices more stable and enable commodities to bring out the best of their qualities,” said European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Guenter Taus.

The groups also noted the slight turnaround of the manufacturing and tourism sectors.

“I think we’re overly critical when raising positive issues. We believe that we’re doing great these years, having had the opportunity to present recommendations. However, we do not know if Arangkada will be done again with the new government or if we have basis to do this again,” said Forbes.

The JFC stressed the importance of job creation, increasing FDI to over $10 billion yearly, doubling of exports to $100 billion and increasing infrastructure spending to support trade and investment and industrial development.

Topics: Joint Foreign Chambers , JFC , economic platforms , presidential candidates
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