President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte’s blueprint for the Philippine economy – a 10-point socio-economic agenda that combines hard-nosed business plans with realising the people’s aspirations – has now been laid out. It was delivered to business-group leaders from across the country at a two-day consultative summit in Davao City by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez last week. D-Day for Dominguez – farewell Manila
In the plan, boosting business and alleviating poverty have been given equal emphasis. Here’s what it looks like:
1. Continue and maintain current macroeconomic policies, as well as fiscal, monetary, and trade policies.
2. Institute progressive tax reform and more-effective tax collection, and the indexing of taxes to inflation.
3. Increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business.
4. Accelerate annual infrastructure spending to account for 5% of GDP, with Public-Private Partnerships playing a key role.
5. Promote rural and value-chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and rural tourism.
6. Ensure security of land tenure to encourage investments, and address bottlenecks in land-management and titling agencies.
7. Invest in human capital development, including health and education systems, and match skills and training.
8. Promote science, technology, and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity.
9. Improve social protection programmes, including the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer programme.
10. Strengthen implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.
There are no surprises in the framework which Dominguez presented. The agenda embraces the most urgent needs of trade and of the people. It provides a pragmatic, no-nonsense approach to dealing with the major problems which the Philippines faces in the areas of attracting investment for seriously under-capitalised infrastructure requirements and in providing solutions to its myriad of the pressing social problems.