President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expects the country’s economy to exceed levels before 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, as he invited members of the Joint Foreign Chambers on Tuesday to invest in key areas and reinforce domestic industries.
Speaking during the 11th Arangkada Philippines Forum 2022 at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City, Mr. Marcos asked foreign businessmen to help the country lessen its dependence on imported goods, noting the main driver of PH inflation is still imported products such as oil.
“So again, import substitution is still a good idea not only for foreign exchange reserve but also, so that we can keep our inflation rate down,” the President said.
“It is the aim of this government to transform the Philippine economy to take advantage of the new realities present in the new normal. Gone are the old ways of conducting businesses and procedures, especially with the emergence of innovations in ICT (information and communication technology) and in other areas,” he said.
“And that’s why when I speak about the economy, I do not talk about recovery because I do not want to recover the Philippine economy to what it was in 2019. That is not going to work anymore,” Mr. Marcos added.
“Whatever economy is going to be formed in the next few months, the next few years, it will be very different from what we were doing. So when they say, ‘We are trying to catch up.’ I reply, ‘Catch up to what?” To what we were before? That’s no good at all. We don’t want to be doing the same things that we used to do.”
“To aid the transition that we are talking about, I invite you to invest in key areas such as education and skills training; digitalization of processes; and research and development,” Mr. Marcos pointed out.
The government, for its part, is committed to further boosting economic growth, with overall goals of poverty reduction and reinvigorating job creation, the President noted.
Notably, the government is exerting efforts to accelerate economic growth by further easing travel and mobility restrictions, implementing economic reforms, and improving economic cooperation with trade and investment partners, he said.
The President also underscored the government’s work to enhance the ease of doing business and public-private partnerships and improve bureaucratic efficiency through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development and digitalization.
“Rest assured, this government is united in ensuring that the Philippines will become a viable and sustainable destination for domestic and foreign investors,” Mr. Marcos said.
At the same time, the President recognized the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines for its critical role as an active government partner in promoting investment opportunities.
Mr. Marcos urged concerned government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to continually work with the JFC “to achieve their shared goals.”
The Chief Executive also told the forum participants that the Philippine economy continues to recover from the negative impact of the pandemic and is on track to maintain its strong economic performance and achieve the government’s growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent for this year.
“The country’s growth rate looks healthy, the peso is becoming a little stronger relative to the other currencies, and the unemployment rate is quite reasonable considering the current situation,” Marcos said – stressing, however, that inflation has to be tamed.
The President expects the forum to help open new economic opportunities and revitalize the sectors that have been most affected by the pandemic as well as future challenges.