What’s taking too long?

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The Philippines, for so long as I could remember, has always been tagged as the “rising tiger of Asia” — with a very young population primed to lead the workforce, English speaking at that, coupled with sound macroeconomic fundamentals, rich resources and a generally amicable reputation in the region. We have high hopes for us.

The national government and the LGU must continue working hand in hand to ensure that there are no repetitive procedures or any double taxation

The quality of work our manufacturers produce are also world-class and topnotch. However, our exports in the recent years are dropping.

Foreign direct investments (FDI) that the Philippines get are also lagging behind our ASEAN neighbors, such as Thailand and Vietnam. The Philippines’ FDI inflows have improved recently.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas made mention that it has reached $8.04 billion for the period of January to September 2018. But it is not easy to play catch-up with the others.
What’s taking too long for the country to finally soar? What are we doing, or not doing?
The biz of doing business

It cannot be stressed enough that while we are natural entrepreneurs, many bureaucratic processes hold us back and the ease of doing business in the country has taken the back seat.

The Doing Business 2019 report showed that the Philippines fell 11 notches, now ranking 124th. We all know too well the usual suspects — electricity, trading across borders and other bureaucratic processes that slow down the ease of doing business.

The national government and the local government units must continue working hand in hand to ensure that there are no repetitive procedures or any double taxation. We have to support those who would like to do business, instead of indirectly discouraging them.

Infrastructure: all systems go
The government takes seriously our infrastructure woes like no other and that is a fact that most of us appreciate and give credit the administration for. We all know that we cannot talk of improving trade and investment without targeting the main foe crippling us — underdeveloped infrastructure.

The government’s ambitious but certainly possible “Build, Build, Build” program shows a great resolve in putting in place proper infrastructure that will aid in the seamless movement of people and flow of goods and services. Not to mention, the thousands of jobs that will be created while all the projects are being done and delivered.

The government is building roads and other relevant infrastructure that will encourage not only investors but tourists as well. Cultural exchange is important at the height of today’s globalized world and tourism creates that, as well as its instant multiplier effect that cuts across all sectors of tourism and hospitality.

While at it, it is really high time that the government approves the construction of the San Miguel Corporation (SMC)-led Bulacan airport, also dubbed as the New Manila International Airport. Just a few kilometers away from Metro Manila, the Bulacan airport will open many doors, not only for Luzon, but for the country. Imagine having six parallel runways, something we are still problematizing about our current airports. We do not need more terminals, but runways! No wonder we cannot land immediately and have to circle around, thousands of feet from the ground, as aircrafts use our limited runways. We will be opening our shores to some 100 million passengers every year. So why not start now?

SMC also re-envisions the space and plans to put up an “aeropolis,” with residential, commercial and industrial areas — a one-stop shop if you may. All these without government shelling out its limited resources.

This is also the first time I hear a big-ticket item duly approved some time ago by the Investment Coordination Committee-National Economic and Development Authority (ICC-NEDA) to be held in abeyance for several months thereafter. NEDA’s super body has the reputation of dissecting projects tediously and meticulously. Suspending an approval diminishes ICC-NEDA and leaves the public to so many speculations. This also sends wrong signals to investors since said body is the final arbiter before any project is to commence.

We have to… put in place necessary soft and hard infrastructure that will help put our wings back instead of clipping them down.

Creating trade and investment opportunities does come easy. It really is a holistic approach.

And we have to start with eliminating bureaucratic barriers and, instead, put in place necessary soft and hard infrastructure that will help put our wings back instead of clipping them down, so finally the Philippines can soar high.

What are your thoughts?

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