By Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr., DTI
Investments Outlook for 2015
With a growth forecast of 6.4%, the highest among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-6 (Asean-6) member states, investments in key sectors will continue to flow into the country as the Philippine economy maintains its robust expansion this year.
The country’s performance, buoyed by consistent investment upgrades from five international credit ratings agencies, reaffirmed its status as “Asia’s Bright Spot” or the “New Asian Tiger,” among emerging economies in the region.
International organizations and publications have likewise affirmed the Philippine’s enhanced standing evidenced by their latest rankings.
The latest World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Rankings placed the country at the 52nd spot, an increase which the WEF considered the largest gain over that period among all rated countries.
The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom placed the country at the 89th position, an improvement of 8 points from the previous year.
The World Bank (WB) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) affirmed the remarkable improvement on the country’s “Doing Business” scorecard. The Philippines, declared as one of the 10 countries which registered the biggest strides in business regulation, leaped from the 108th in the previous year to 95th place, a notable improvement of 13 notches.
The continuing global investment sentiment for the Philippines will fuel its economy towards an investment-led growth with the manufacturing and services sectors serving as key growth drivers.
The Growth of the Manufacturing Industry
Manufacturing is expected to continue to lead the overall growth in the Industrial sector in 2015 with its share to total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expected to rise steadily. Manufacturing accounted for 23.2 percent of total GDP, the biggest contributor among the industry sub-sectors in the first semester of 2014.
While growth in manufacturing over the last five years has been variable, the surge posted in 2013 was sustained in the first half of 2014, as it grew by 8.8 percent. Drivers of growth were publishing and printing (51.5%), fabricated metal products (49.4%), and machinery and equipment (47.0%)
In 2013, Manufacturing accounted for 3.2 million jobs, an estimated increase of 1.5% from the previous year. Manufacturing maintained this level of growth in job generation in the first semester of 2014.
To sustain this momentum, the Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP), a priority undertaking of the present administration, targets a 30% increase in Gross Value Added (GVA) and 15% increase in employment by 2025.
A major component of the MRP is the Manufacturing Industry Roadmap (MIR) developed by the DTI and the Board of Investments (BOI) in collaboration with stakeholders. The MIR identifies the required steps and interventions to address issues to further development. These include: Infrastructure and Logistics; Governance and Regulation; Supply and Value Chain Gaps; Domestic Market Base Expansion; SME Development; Human Resources; and Innovation.
The MIR will support the development of a Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy, the framework that coordinates the country’s efforts at industry upgrading and structural transformation to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.Industry Development Program
Initiated in 2012, the Industry Development Program (IDP) partnered with the private sector to develop sectoral roadmaps. The roadmaps identify relevant laws, regulations and policies that drive the development of the sector or industry, such as government support and incentives, existing programs for sector, latest technologies and trends, as well as relevant global and regional developments that could impact growth. Since then, about 30 industry roadmaps have been integrated into the broader MIR.
Government is an enabler and facilitator, coordinating with interested industry associations, partner agencies, members of the academe, and civil society organizations. The empirical data and the vast experience of stakeholders have helped put together the industry roadmaps. Each sectoral roadmap is different and at varying stages of maturity and as such provide vital inputs in the crafting of investment policies such as the annual Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), the country’s blueprint for investment promotions. Likewise the roadmaps have helped identify value-chain gaps to guide investments promotion and define government positions and strategies for trade and investment negotiations.
Since 2012, some 18 Technical Working Groups (TWGs) have been established and convened. These TWGs identify major policy reform issues, administrative bottlenecks, and concrete projects for implementation. The TWGs are composed of government and private sector stakeholders chaired by BOI sectoral and industry champions.
The Chemicals TWG was able to establish a research and innovation partnership with the UP Engineering Research and Development for Technology to strengthen the synergy between the sector and the academe. The TWG coordinated with the Food and Drugs Administration to streamline procedures for importation of chemical materials and agreed to deregulate bulk industrial chemicals used as raw materials in cosmetics. The chemicals industry association likewise entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with TESDA for skills identification and the development of a TESDA curriculum for the chemicals industry, specifically for laboratory technicians and plant production operators.
Of the 30 industry sectoral roadmaps, 25 have been finalized and 5 are in the draft stage. Some 21 more sectoral roadmaps are being developed and will be completed by early 2015. Completed roadmaps include the following: aerospace, automotive, automotive parts, biodiesel, cement, ceramic tiles, chemicals, copper and copper products, electric vehicles, electronics, furniture, iron and steel, IT-BPM, manufacturing, mass housing, metalcasting, motorcycles, natural health products, petrochemicals, plastics, pulp and paper, rubber products, and tool and die. The roadmaps for bamboo, coco coir and creative industries are currently in development.
The Investments Priorities Plan
The 2014 IPP is a tool for industrial development and economic growth. It aims to attract investments that would fill gaps in the supply or value chain, boost sectors with latent or obvious competitive advantage, and offset market imperfections. Based on industry studies, plans and roadmaps, and after rigorous analysis and consultations with stakeholders nationwide. The 2014 IPP now identifies specific economic activities which shall receive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives: Income Tax Holiday; Exemption from taxes and duties on imported spare parts; Exemption from wharfage dues and export tax, duty, impost and fees; Reduction of the Rates of Duty on Capital Equipment, Spareparts and Accessories; Tax exemption on breeding stocks and genetic materials; Tax Credits; Additional deductions from Taxable
Income; Non-Fiscal Incentives; Employment of Foreign Nationals; Simplification of customs procedures; Importation of consigned equipment; Privilege to operate a bonded manufacturing warehouse.
1. ADB Outlook 2014 Update, September 2014, Manila
2. BOI 2013 Annual Report
3. DTI Presentation –Mid Year Economic Briefing September 2014 at PICC
4. 2014 Investments Priorities Plan
5. DTI Up Beat September 2014
6 National Competitiveness Council