SONA 2020

Business groups want Duterte to tackle economic rescue plan in SONA 2020

Ralf Rivas
Business groups want Duterte to tackle economic rescue plan in SONA 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on July 21, 2020. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Business groups want to hear about a sizable fiscal stimulus package, not federalism

Some of the country’s biggest business groups urged President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss the plans to save small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic in his State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 27.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, and Philippine Exporters Confederation sent a letter to the President, asking for a clear strategy for economic revival.

“While we agree that health-related programs and policies should be prioritized in the context of this crisis, we likewise believe in balancing this objective with setting the economic stage towards recovery and progress,” the business groups said.

The 3 groups urged Duterte to approve the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE), which lowers corporate income tax and aims to give incentives to deserving industries.

“Further delay on its enactment will worsen the adverse economic consequences of over 2-year investor uncertainty since the bill was initially discussed,” the groups warned.

They also recommended the approval of the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy (ARISE) and the COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) bills.

The groups also wanted the following programs to be implemented:

  • National ID;
  • Implementation and maintenance of TradeNet, the government’s online trading facilitation portal;
  • Implementation of the ATA Carnet system;
  • Prioritize agriculture infrastructure projects;
  • Expand participation of private sector in formulating guidelines on the lifting of lockdowns;
  • Setup quarantine facilities in key locations;
  • Computerize government processes;
  • Attend to pending issues on regulated chemicals;
  • Increase export promotion for small businesses;
  • Accelerate automation and integration of business permitting and licensing systems.

They also proposed amendments to the following laws:

  • Public Services Act;
  • Magna Carta for MSMEs;
  • Philippine Ports Authority Charter;
  • Open Access in Data Transmission Act;
  • Warehouse Receipts Act;
  • Apprenticeship Training Systems Act.

Meanwhile, Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) also echoed the statement of the business groups, citing the need for a sizable fiscal stimulus package plan to revive the economy

“We look forward to the President urging Congress to pass the various stimulus bills at the soonest possible time. We cannot afford to be behind the curve in putting in place all necessary stimulants to help our economy recover quickly from the pandemic,” said MAP president Francis Lim.

“We are also hoping to hear measures to ensure and strengthen the rule of law whose role in our economic recovery cannot be underestimated,” Lim added.

“The economic stimulants will not be truly meaningful, unless investors take comfort in the knowledge that our country has a friendly and conducive business environment for them. Now more than ever before, we need more investments to generate jobs for our countrymen.”

MAP hopes that Duterte will not call for a shift to federalism.

“It is counter-productive at this time and it will derail efforts toward economic recovery, which should be the top agenda in the remaining years of President Duterte’s six-year term,” Lim said.  – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.