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Recto invites investment in infrastructure, energy projects

FINANCE SECRETARY RALPH G. RECTO — DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE FACEBOOK PAGE

FINANCE Secretary Ralph G. Recto invited US investors to look into Philippine infrastructure and energy projects, as well as collaborate with the Maharlika sovereign wealth fund.

“We eagerly look forward to the US becoming a key player in realizing our development goals by strengthening our long-standing alliance with more forward-looking business partnerships,” he said in his speech at the Philippine Dialogue in Washington.

The dialogue was held on the sidelines of the World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund (WB-IMF) Spring Meetings.

Mr. Recto cited bright spots such as the Philippines’ resilient economic growth driven by domestic demand, the young labor force, the tourism recovery, pro-business policies and continued fiscal consolidation.

“The Philippines is now open to full foreign ownership of renewable energy projects. This will help unlock the vast potential of the country’s mineral sector, valued at $6 trillion,” Mr. Recto said.

“We also now allow full foreign ownership in public services like telecommunications, airports, and shipping. And we have lowered the minimum paid-up capital requirement for foreign corporations,” he added.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, in a statement, said that the government has worked to improve ease of doing business in the Philippines.

“These reforms and initiatives clarify ambiguities in the rules, expand markets for our industries, streamline government processes, and promote more competition. Through the President’s policy issuances, we have underscored the government’s strong commitment to promote the ease of doing business,” he said.

Mr. Recto also invited investors to look into infrastructure projects. The government currently has 185 flagship infrastructure projects worth P9.14 trillion.

“The Maharlika Investment Fund, our first sovereign wealth fund, also presents an ideal platform for private-sector engagement in financing our flagship infrastructure projects,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Recto urged multilateral lenders to ramp up assistance to developing economies.

“I urge the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other partners to intensify their efforts in assisting developing countries to mitigate and reverse the factors threatening our growth prospects,” he said in his Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four (G24) speech.

“The primary concern for emerging markets and developing economies is securing immediate access to short-term liquidity and affordable long-term financing to navigate the turbulent waters ahead,” he added.

Mr. Rectocalled for more “ambitious” lending targets to ensure that development goals are met.

“Without improvements to financing conditions in the short term, decades of individual and global efforts to eradicate poverty and inequality, combat climate change, and invest in growth-enhancing infrastructure projects will be put to a halt, if not reversed,” he said.

In its communique, the G24 called on policymakers to “be mindful of the heightened trade‑offs in policy choices.”

“External risks are likely to remain as disinflation policies prevail. Risks from persistent core inflation could trigger additional monetary policy tightening, further compounding already high levels of debt, fiscal and current account imbalances, with negative effects on economic prospects,” it said.

“This means that the goal of achieving sustainable and inclusive development by 2030 is more challenging than before. We ask all parties of the international community, especially multilateral organizations, to work together and make their best efforts to accelerate progress,” it added.

The Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development, or G24, was established in 1971.

The governing body of the G24 meets twice a year to discuss key global issues, preceding the Spring and Fall meetings of the WB-IMF. The communique emerging from the meetings reflects the consensus views of member countries. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

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