#BudgetWatch: PH to hit investment grade?
We are compiling and publishing select press statements from the Budget department as part of our #BudgetWatch project. This is for reference purposes of groups and citizens interested in pronouncements made by Budget officials.
MANILA, Philippines - Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said in February 2013 he is optimistic about the country’s chances of achieving investment grade from major credit rating agencies.
In a press statement, he cited the administration’s strong fiscal strategy and continued commitment to key reforms, as well as mounting investor confidence in the country as a major investment hub in Southeast Asia.
Abad made the statement during the 2013 Philippine Economic Briefing, where the members of President Benigno Aquino III’s Cabinet were given a chance to engage partners in the private sector and involve all stakeholders in fostering rapid, inclusive, and sustainable growth in the Philippines.
“We’ve already posted 11 favorable credit actions since the Aquino administration began its work of socio-economic reform, thanks to our strong economic fundamentals and robust fiscal management strategy, as well as our dedicated drive for improved governance. There is very little doubt that the country will soon reach investment grade, and we are determined to create an environment that will not only facilitate the upgrade, but will likewise ensure the sustainability and inclusiveness of the country’s growth,” Abad said.
More efficiency and transparency
He also emphasized the role of public expenditure management in bolstering economic growth, adding that spending for this year will be faster and more efficient, especially in view of budget reforms that are already being implemented by the Department of Budget and Management.
“We are keenly anticipating a year of improved efficiency and transparency in the management of public funds, even as we align our budgetary priorities with President Aquino’s Social Contract with the Filipino People to ensure high-impact expenditures. The reforms we’ve already instituted—including Zero-Base Budgeting, Bottom-Up Budgeting, and the disaggregation of lump-sum funds—will be enhanced by other initiatives we are now beginning to roll out."
He added, “One of these is our careful transition toward a regime where the General Appropriations Act will stand as the release document. This removes us from the circuitous process of requesting and approving fund release across the year, all while making plain where public funds are directed to."
“We’ve also shortened the lifespan of appropriations to just one year, which will spur departments and agencies to make swift use of their available budgets and, ultimately, facilitate the quick and efficient delivery of goods and services to the public,” he said.
Abad further highlighted the significance of an investment grade rating for the Philippines, particularly in view of the administration’s goal to bring about inclusive growth in the country.
“Achieving investment grade will result in improvements in our risk profile, as well as cement the Philippines’ reputation as a most promising investment destination. The result? Greater private sector confidence in the country’s economic and political capacity, more jobs, and a country of empowered citizens who finally have direct access to the benefits of good governance,” Abad said. – Rappler.com