High economic growth 'no fluke' - DTI

By Jennifer A. Ng, BusinessMirror

Posted at Feb 27 2013 08:04 AM | Updated as of Feb 27 2013 05:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Posting an annual economic growth of more than 6 percent is no longer a “fluke” for the Philippines, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said in a forum on Tuesday.

Domingo, who forecast a 7-percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the Philippines in 2013, said high economic growth is now more sustainable for the country.

“Growth is sustainable and not a fluke. It is based on diverse achievements in various sectors,” the trade chief, who is also one of the country’s economic managers, said during the second Arangkada Philippines forum held in Makati City.

Arangkada Philippines is a comprehensive advocacy paper intended to share recommendations leading to the creation of $75 billion in new foreign investment, 10 million jobs and over P1 trillion in revenue for the Philippine economy within this decade.

Domingo cited the P672-billion investment pledges approved by the Board of Investments and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority in 2012. These local and foreign investments, he said, would help create more jobs.

Citing a Japan External Trade Organization survey conducted in 2011, he said the Philippines is now a profitable location for investors.

One of the major factors behind this, he noted, is the relatively stable minimum wage for local workers.

“In the last 10 years, labor cost has gone up by only 3 percent to 5 percent,” Domingo said.

The per-capita GDP of the country, estimated at $2,600 last year, he said, would also help spur consumption spending, which fuels Philippine economic growth.

For 2013, he said, the Philippine government would continue to take advantage of various bilateral and regional free-trade agreements to expand overseas markets for local goods.

Domingo said the national government would also pursue the passage of a number of measures during the 16th Congress to make the Philippines a more attractive investment destination.

These include possible amendments to foreign investment negative list, the mining act, and a bill on the rationalization of fiscal incentives granted to investors.

In 2012 Philippine economy grew by 6.6 percent on the back of the strong performance of the services sector, as well as an increase in government spending for public infrastructure projects.