Maharlika Fund bankrolling big-ticket projects

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. meeting with top international chief executive officers on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo: Presidential Communications Office)

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund will leverage state assets to back energy, agriculture, and other major infrastructure projects.

The President made this remark in a breakfast meeting with top international chief executive officers on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“When we first discussed the sovereign wealth fund, the real purpose is that there is not enough money in government to do all the things that we need to do,” the President said.

“We have reserves. And we must make [sure] that money sitting in banks, commercial and government… we need to find a way to make that money work for us, and that’s why we thought the sovereign wealth fund would be a good idea to leverage what assets the government has, what monies the government has,” Mr. Marcos added.

“We’re talking about energy, we’re talking about infrastructure, we’re talking about agricultural development, we’re talking about digitalization. So all of these will need a great deal of support,” he pointed out.

The fund would be the state’s share in public-private partnership projects, he explained.

Marcos said the National Economic and Development Authority has made it easier for investors to come in and to engage in PPPs.

With professionals managing the fund, the President said there would be efficiency and assurance in driving strategically important investments in the country.

“The management of the wealth fund must be seen to be rational, sober, professional… we will certainly make sure that anyone who will look at the fund will see that it is run professionally and properly. In that way, the wealth fund has a good future to be able, as I said, to succeed in doing what we want to do, which is leveraging what we have for these big-ticket investments,” said the President.

House Bill No. 6608 or the Maharlika Investment Fund Act seeks to create an independent fund that adheres to the principles of good governance, transparency, and accountability and shall be sourced from the investible funds of select government financial institutions, from contributions of the national government, declared dividends of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and other sources of funds.

Under the proposed measure, the fund shall be used to invest on a strategic and commercial basis in a manner designed to promote fiscal stability for economic development and strengthen the top-performing GFIs through additional investment platforms that will help attain the national government’s priority plans.

The bill was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives on 15 December 2022 and was transmitted to the Senate on 19 December 2022.

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