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NEDA welcomes more PPP, provides more opportunities for agri

The private sector is confident after pronouncements made by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan that Private-Public Partnership (PPP) will play a huge role in the country’s infrastructure development. According to the Secretary “the only way to sustain massive infrastructure development is by tapping into the private sector, which is awash with capital.” Mr. Balisacan echoed the sentiments of the audience in making the country attractive to foreign investment thereby increasing high-quality jobs.

As of December 2022, there are 98 public-private partnership projects in the pipeline amounting to over P3 trillion. “We are moving quickly to get these projects approved by the NEDA Board,” Mr. Balisacan added.

MBC’s Chairman Edgar Chua opened the session by praising Mr. Balisacan on his quick actions upon appointment, particularly his revisions on the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) IRR. “His revisions restore the attractiveness of PPPs. I know everyone in this room thank you for your quick action on that, secretary,” Mr. Chua remarked. Furthermore, NEDA is pushing for the amendment of the BOT Law. “It is number one on the legislative agenda of both the Executive and Legislative branches. Hopefully we can have it by June,” the secretary added.

Inflation soared to 8.7% in January, marking the fastest pace since the 9.1% recorded in November 2008, which could be attributed to higher prices of food, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels. The country’s latest inflation rate outpaced other ASEAN countries such as Thailand (5.02%), Vietnam (5.21%) and Indonesia (3.27%).

However, NEDA, despite being surprised by the recent number, reiterated that economic managers could expect inflation to ease this year. Mr. Baliscan said the government will prioritize increasing agricultural productivity, food and energy security to temper rising price pressures. The secretary noted that the government needs to provide farmers with technology that would raise the level of profitability and address their constraints. “When the technology is profitable, you don’t have to widely advertise it — they will grab it!,” Mr. Balisacan said.

“Sec. Arsi and the government have our full support in transforming the economy to make a big leap in getting better lives and better jobs for Filipinos. We also support their efforts to navigate global economic headwinds and still-high inflation,” Mr. Chua said.

The NEDA Secretary’s meeting with MBC is the second in a series of face-to-face sessions with the country’s key economic managers. Department of Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla will be featured next on March 16. The “F2F with Cab Secs” is part of MBC’s ongoing efforts to strengthen public-private dialogue and collaboration. Last year, MBC visited 11 Marcos Administration leaders to discuss key areas where business can help.

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