Amid investment pitch, PH admits lack of consumer confidence a risk

    Green shoots. This ongoing construction at the heart of Makati central business district reflects private sector confidence in the economy. (Photo by MANOLET SANTIAGO)

    On the heels of the launch of an international investment promotion campaign, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez admits lack of consumer confidence is the biggest risk for investing in the Philippines.

    In an interview by Bloomberg TV yesterday, Lopez said consumer spending is not picking up as fast but expressed hope in previous interviews this would be restored to a high gear with the reopening of the economy.

    With foreign direct investments (FDI) seen hitting $7 billion in 2021, the Make it Happen in the Philippines being rolled out this year stretches beyond the Duterte administration of 2022, Lopez told Bloomberg TV.

    “FDIs have been growing for four consecutive months up to August, growing 40 percent even with the pandemic,” said Lopez.

    In a statement at the launch on Tuesday, Lopez said the Philippines has to catch the momentum built by the positive FDIs.

    “These are good signs of confidence… and these numbers (are) quite rare in this time,” he said.

    Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Board of Investments said FDIs in May grew to $402 million from only $289 million in the same month last year. For June 2020, FDI figures grew 7.13 percent to $481 million from $449 million. A significant growth of 35 percent was also recorded in July 2020 to $797 million from only $590 million in the same month last year.

    “Consumer confidence is a risk factor. We were the most affected because of the strict lockdowns but these worked in our favor because we were able to manage the spread of the virus,” Lopez said.

    He addd:

    “The Philippines continues to be a vital place to do business in the world and is recognized as one of Asia’s leading economies and fastest-growing emerging markets. With the current health crisis affecting the world economy, we have acted swiftly with a range of incentives and measures to maintain ease of doing business and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 for businesses. A ‘roll-up-your-sleeves’ and ‘make-it-work’ mindset, as well as a service-orientated business ethic position the Philippines well for the future. (I.Isip)