Philippine CEOs see revenues halved in 2020 due to pandemic: survey

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2020 05:31 PM

A woman walks past a mural at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. February 18, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA - Almost 4 out of 5 CEOs in the Philippines said they expect to lose up to half of their estimated revenues for 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey done by a business group and a consultancy firm. 

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and PwC Philippines said their survey of CEOs showed that 78 percent of the 161 respondents expect to lose up to 50 percent of their estimated 2020 revenues as a result of the health crisis.

The study also showed only 59 percent of the respondents expect their revenues to grow in the next 12 months, a sharp decline from the 95 percent seen in the 2019 survey.

PwC Philippines also noted this is the lowest figure it has seen since it started the annual survey 6 years ago.

However, for the next 3 years, more CEOs are optimistic, with 90 percent of them confident of growth.

This coincides with their more bullish outlook for the local economy, with 83 percent of chief executives expecting the country to recover within 1 to 3 years from the impact of COVID-19.

Eighty percent of them also plan to raise investments, technology and digitalization to cope with the changes brought about by the health crisis.

"This survey points out that the CEOs are all in it, the CIOs (chief information officers) are willing to give it a try," said Fernando Peña, member of the MAP CEO Conference committee.

But he added that the government should also be taking the lead in shifting the country into the digital space.

"The government authorities, are they on board? Because this will really see a structural change. And corruption cannot be done on the internet. Difficult. So this may really be a game-changer for the country," Peña said.

Francis Lim, President of MAP, said while there have been strides in enacting laws to usher in digitalization many years ago, these have yet to be properly implemented.

"Congress has done its part in terms of putting up a legal framework for the digital economy. I think we're the first few countries in Asia that was very much ahead in putting an e-commerce act," he said.

"Unfortunately, the law has not been implemented the way it was envisioned by Congress," Lim admitted.

The Philippine economy shrank 16.5 percent in the second quarter plunging the country into recession for the first time in nearly 30 years, following one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The country's economic managers expect the economy to contract by 5.5 percent this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism, trade and remittances, it said.