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MANILA—The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said that the proposed updated medium-term plan would continue to address the issue of high cost of doing business in the country, in order to develop the medium-scale enterprises sector.
Dr. Rosemarie Edillon of the NEDA-National Planning and Policy Staff (NPPS) said that industries in the Philippines are polarized and that it is important to address bottlenecks especially confronting medium-scale entrepreneurs.
“We have a lot of small-scale enterprises, which include sari-sari stores, and these enterprises are really outside of the mainstream system in terms of rules, regulations and taxation. On the other hand, we also have big enterprises and firms that are already embedded in the system but enjoy some incentives as well. Unfortunately, there is this missing middle. We are currently pinpointing barriers confronting medium-scale enterprises, which are the sort of industries that lead to inclusive growth,” said Edillon.
Edillon said that the key to inclusive growth is employment generation and promotion of industries that benefits all, especially the poor.
“The government is very keen on identifying strategies for providing jobs, in particular, quality jobs. These are not jobs that will employ people to clean the streets for 100 days, which are short-term and very unsustainable,” said Edillon.
She added that the current Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2011 to 2016 already outlines strategies that would help generate employment and lower the cost of doing business. These include infrastructure development, addressing the high cost of power and reforming existing rules and regulations, including automation of transactions.
“Another sure strategy for inclusive growth would be to support the agro-industry sector. It links the agriculture sector, which hosts most of the poor, with the industry sector, which presents more opportunities for value adding and development of medium-scale enterprises,” according to Edillon.
The NEDA official said that the government will be updating the PDP, which is scheduled to be completed by June 2013.
“There will first be an assessment of the accomplishment for the past two years through the Socioeconomic Report (SER). This will be completed within the year. The updated PDP will take stock of the SER, as well as key indicators that we hope will be out early next year such as the 2012 poverty statistics generated from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES),” Edillon said.
The FIES, which is conducted every three years, is currently being conducted this year by the National Statistics Office. Data is usually released after two years, but according to Edillon the government wants to reduce the interval to one year, for it to be timely and relevant.
Edillon added that the updated PDP will continue to be anchored on institutional and governance reforms, which also supports growth of medium-size enterprises.
“We noted that the country’s economic figures in the first half of 2012 were fueled by optimism, both from the business sector and consumers. But there are limits to the extent that this optimism will support growth. This is why the government has to continue to deliver in terms of institutional reforms,” she said.