Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said game-changing structural reforms are crucial to sustaining the recovery of the economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic since the early part of 2020.
Diokno, speaking in the 25th membership meeting of the Rotary Club of Manila, expressed support for amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Public Service Act and Foreign Investments Act.
“With or without crisis, we should continue to pursue structural reforms that would put the Philippines not just on the road to pre-crisis growth but on a sustainable path of development,” Diokno said.
The Retail Trade Liberalization Act or Republic Act 11595 was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2021. It aims to further open the country’s retail sector to foreign players by lowering the minimum paid-up capital from around P125 million to P25 million.
Diokno also supported the amendments to the 80-year-old Public Service Act, which will allow foreign ownership of key economic sectors and amendments to the Foreign Investments Act, which will encourage foreign professionals to bring their practice, know-how and technical expertise to the Philippines.
Both bills are pending in Congress, with the revisions to the PSA still needing to go through bicameral proceedings. The amendments to the FIA are awaiting approval from the President.
“I am confident that with these game-changing reforms, we can achieve real change in the lives of ordinary Filipinos through more and better jobs and a more competitive economy,” Diokno said. Julito G. Rada
The economy contracted by a record 9.6 percent last year, the worst GDP performance since World War 2, amid the pandemic.
Economic managers projected a 5 percent to 5.5 percent GDP growth in 2021, anchored on the faster pace of vaccination that lifted business confidence.