Government revisiting economic areas to enhance policy environment

Louise Maureen Simeon – The Philippine Star

January 15, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Marcos administration is moving to revisit economic areas that can be enhanced and to provide new opportunities to ensure broad-based growth for the country.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the government is revisiting certain sectors such as mining, electronics and energy, whose policies can be strengthened to give more benefits to the economy.

These sectors will also be aligned with emerging trends in the global economy.

For one, Diokno said the mining industry holds the greatest potential to be a key driver in the country’s recovery and long-term growth, especially at a time when metal prices are high.

“The Philippines, after all, is one of the world’s most richly endowed countries in terms of mineral resources. As such, we will harness the potential of the extractive sector to drive long-term economic expansion,” Diokno said.

Diokno is banking on the approval of a new mining fiscal regime that will impose fresh tax rates to contribute to economic recovery.

The new regime is expected to provide close to P40 billion in additional revenues to the government.

Apart from mining, the finance chief emphasized that the government is committed to making the Philippines competitive in the semiconductor and electronics industry, which are the top contributors to the local manufacturing sector.

Diokno expects output to rise this year as demand picks up.

The Philippines is pursuing energy transition and has opened up the renewable energy sector to full foreign ownership.

Diokno said that a more liberalized renewable energy sector would expedite the country’s transition toward a clean, affordable, and desirable mix of energy sources, which in turn will create more green jobs.

“With stronger ties and an integrated supply chain, we can facilitate a seamless trade of goods that will contribute to the global transition to renewable energy powered by advanced technology,” Diokno said.

“This can be achieved by mapping critical mineral supply chains, improving traceability in key sectors, and coordinating diversification efforts,” he said.

Meanwhile, Diokno highlighted the need for the Philippines to establish strategic cooperation, resilient supply chains, and solid digital infrastructure among its regional peers in the Indo-Pacific.

The Indo-Pacific region represents 60 percent of the world’s population and two-thirds of global economic growth over the last five years.

It is the fastest-growing economic region and is projected to be the largest contributor to global growth over the next 30 years.

In May last year, US President Joe Biden launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity with Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam as initial partners.

The framework will help lower costs by making the country’s supply chains more resilient in the long term, thereby protecting it against costly disruptions that lead to higher prices for consumers.

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