Threshold on construction pushed

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    Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez is batting for the imposition of a threshold on construction projects that should be reserved to Filipino players.

    In a Senate hearing, Lopez said the Construction Industry Association of Philippines (CIAP), an agency under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), will abide by the Supreme Court ruling that opens to foreign players the construction industry “in the spirit of encouraging foreign investments.”

    Lopez told the hearing while the construction industry players are doing their own appeal or motion for reconsideration on the SC ruling, “our position is, if we can put threshold” on projects that will be reserved to Filipino small and medium enterprises.

    As defined, medium enterprises are those with capitalization of P100 million and below.

    “That (P100 million) would be a good threshold to be reserved to MSMEs and leave the large for foreign players for competition,” Lopez said.

    These are small projects that foreign players may not be interested in at all.

    But Lopez acknowledged the concern raised when dealing with smaller players such as guaranteeing work completion and traceability of contractors if there is a problem

    Lopez stressed the significant role of construction in creating jobs. Under the industry’s roadmap, the target is to raise 7 million jobs , in support of the Build Build Build which would also fuel its contribution to the economy.

    In July and despite the pandemic, construction added 16,000 new jobs and managed to grow by 0.4 percent as of the middle of 2020.