Updated PH devt plan eyes more quality jobs

By Max V. de Leon, BusinessMirror

Posted at Sep 21 2012 07:37 AM | Updated as of Sep 21 2012 03:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The government is updating the country’s medium-term development plan, with focus given to needed institutional reforms that will remove the bottlenecks that are hindering growth of medium-scale enterprises.

Also, Dr. Rosemarie Edillon of the National Planning and Policy Staff (NPPS) of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said the updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2011 to 2016 aims to generate more quality jobs, not those that employ people to clean the streets for 100 days just to jack up the employment rate.

Right now, Edillon added, the medium-scale enterprise sector is not getting the needed attention that will allow it to contribute to the goal of inclusive growth of the Aquino administration.

“We have a lot of small-scale enterprises, which include sari-sari [variety] 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,” she said.

One of the primary goals of the updated PDP is to address the high cost of doing business in the country in order to develop the medium-scale enterprises sector, Edillon added.

To achieve this, the updated PDP will continue to be anchored on institutional and governance reforms, which support growth of medium-size enterprises.

It outlines strategies that would help generate employment and lower the cost of doing business. These include developing infrastructure, addressing high cost of power and reforming existing rules and regulations, including automation of transactions.

“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,” Edillon said.

Another key to achieving inclusive growth, she added, 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,” Edillon said.

Another sure strategy for inclusive growth, she added, is 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.”

The updated PDP, scheduled to be completed by June 2013, will consider accomplishments in the past two years that will be capsulized through the Socioeconomic Report, which will be completed within the year.

Also to be used as inputs are key indicators that will be out early next year such as the 2012 poverty statistics generated from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey.