Improve ease of doing business, govt told
Businessmen urge government to make growth inclusive and create more jobs by improving the business climate

ROUNDTABLE TALKS. Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr sit with members of the business community to further inclusive growth in the country. Photo taken from the Wallace Business Forum Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The business community expressed concern that the country’s fast economic growth has not made a dent on unemployment.

During the Wallace Business Forum (WBF) Second Quarterly Roundtable, top business executives acknowledged the improvement in the economy but said gains are not trickling down as fast as needed.

“The country’s economy is growing rapidly yet unemployment remains high,” noted Peter Wallace, president and chairman of WBF.

“If the government wants to promote inclusive growth, then it must focus on improving the ease of doing business as it is businesses that provide employment,” added Wallace.

The WBF roundtable gathered many of the country’s top CEOs. Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. attended the event.

WBF managing director and former finance chief Gary Teves said economic growth will not be inclusive if investments do not come in. “A stable and conducive policy framework is important especially in the light of the coming full implementation of ASEAN integration in 2015, as well as the end of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in 2014.”

Both houses of Congress, after the budget hearings, vowed to push for bills that will focus on:

  • the rationalization of fiscal incentives;
  • the promotion of public-private partnerships in infrastructure development; and
  • the assurance of monitoring and the transparency of tax collection as well as easing domestic and foreign investment restrictions.

Drilon said the Senate will prioritize the Cabotage law and the rationalization of the current mining fiscal regime. Anti-trust and competition policies, anti-smuggling laws and the proposed re-organization of the Bureau of Customs will be top priorities at the House of Representatives, said Belmonte.

Belmonte urged the business community to continue engaging in discussions with government so that laws regarding ease of business will be implemented immediately.

They will do their best, Belmonte said, to lay down policies to establish a conducive environment for investments. The business sector can also help the country by providing jobs and opportunities for all, he added. “Let your growth be our growth.” –

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