Finance experts upbeat on investments under Marcos

THE head of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex) said the group is upbeat on the country's investment outlook under the Marcos administration.

"Things have been very positive on the ground, especially on investment confidence," Finex President Michael Guarin said during an interview on SMNI's "Business and Politics," a weekly program hosted by The Manila Times Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dante Francis "Klink" Ang 2nd.

Guarin said the economic team that President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. assembled "has boosted the companies' confidence in the administration's plans."

He said he sees investments being drawn into sectors like health care (pharmaceuticals and hospitals).

He feels that the investment outlook will continue to improve since the Marcos administration is guided by the investment policies laid down by former president Rodrigo Duterte.

Another major investment trend Guarin is keeping an eye on is in digitization, one of the priorities of the administration.

"Across the several programs of the government, as well as certain advocacies, digitization is being thrust into the center in order to speed up processes and try to catch up with our Asian peers in terms of economy and services," he said. 

He cautioned against slacking efforts in looking for investments as the country's gross domestic product expanded by 7.4 percent in the second quarter of 2022 because the country faces stiff competition from its neighbors like Indonesia and Vietnam. 

"In terms of infrastructure, and maturity of business models, some of our Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) peers are ahead by five years, specifically with Vietnam having a wide investment base, and with Indonesia gaining traction as well," Guarin said.

He added that Laos is also gaining in the regional investments race, with several European and US companies setting up shop in that country.

Guarin and accounting organization Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler agree that with the signing into law of the Public Service Act, which allows 100-percent foreign ownership of public services, more investments can be expected in 2023.

"2023 is the year when foreign investors will start looking again at the country and start evaluating on where they can start then afterwards. Actually, investments can finally start coming in [within] 12 to 18 months," Guarin said.



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