Exporters demand bigger budget

By Catherine N. Pillas, BusinessMirror

Posted at Jul 25 2014 08:25 AM | Updated as of Jul 25 2014 04:25 PM

The country’s export sector will reiterate its request for bigger export-promotion budget—which should be ''in the billions'' annually—and additional support for product development in the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) that will be submitted to President Aquino in the next few weeks.

Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), said any projection that will be made on export revenues will be tied to the funding support that they will get from the government.

The public-private Export Development Council (EDC) is now putting the finishing touches on the updated PEDP.

“Part of the inputs on the PEDP that would be presented is a request for bigger funding for export-product development, and participation in exhibitions and missions. Granting those requirements would help our export growth,” said Ortiz-Luis, concurrently the vice chairman of the EDC.

The EDC crafts and oversees the implementation of the PEDP.

The PEDP 2011-2013 contains a proposal for a National Export Development and Competitiveness (Nedac) Fund, to be sourced from the Office of the President, and will amount to P100 million per year starting 2011 until it is subsequently included in the budget of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Ortiz-Luis said what they are asking for in the new PEDP are funds that will probably be appropriated to the DTI through the General Appropriations Act.

The Nedac Fund finances integrated promotional efforts for the export sector of different agencies; assistance to small and medium enterprises in their marketing; and continuous training for workers of export enterprises.

Currently, the allocation given to the DTI for its international trade group in charge of export promotion is just around P100 million annually, said Ortiz-Luis, as mandated in the PEDP 2011-2013.

“The budget of the International Trade Group—which is comprised of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, Bureau of International Trade Relations and a few other agencies in charge of export—is just at P500 million. In government, 80 percent goes to salary and administrative costs, so in reality it’s just around P100 million,” Ortiz-Luis said.

The Philexport president said the allocation they are seeking is “in the billions,” and should be at least comparable to the export-support funds given by other Southeast Asian governments for export development. He did not reveal the specific amount they are asking.

Ortiz-Luis added that the next export targets will be tied to the allocation given.

He said the Philippines is already behind in terms of annual export revenues in the region, with Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia already in the hundreds of billions of dollars, while Philippine export revenues are still in the $60 billion-to-$70 billion range.

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