Gatchalian believes latest FDI report shows need to reform PH’s economic policies

By Hannah Torregoza

Sen. Win Gatchalian says latest foreign direct investment (FDI) report showing a 13.9 percent decline in March 2019 shows the need to reform the Philippine’s restrictive, less competitive economic policies.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday said the Philippine’s existing restrictive economic policies is the reason why its foreign direct investment (FDI) net inflows dropped to a four-month low last March 2019.

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on economic affairs, said the latest FDI report bolsters his belief on the need to rectify the country’s noncompetitive economic programs and make it at par with other growing economies in Southeast Asia.

“The latest foreign direct investment (FDI) report strengthens our case for the need to reform the country’s relatively restrictive and less competitive economic policies,” said Gatchalian in a statement.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) show that the FDI net inflows in March 2019 declined 13.9% to $586- million from the $681-million that was recorded in the same month last year.

The latest United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) 2019 World Investment Report on special economic zones, meanwhile, shows that while annual FDI flows to Southeast Asia went up 3 percent to a record $149-billion last year, inflows to the Philippines and Malaysia declined.

“During the 17th Congress, we championed liberalization reforms that we believe would build an inclusive, efficient, and competitive business environment in the Philippines,” Gatchalian recalled.

He said among the measures they pushed include amending the Foreign Investments Act of 1991, the Public Service Act, and the Retail Liberalization Act, among others.

“ Unfortunately, we did not have the luxury of time to pass these bills before Congress adjourned sine die,” Gatchalian said.

The 17th Congress adjourned its third regular sessions last June 5. New senators will join the Senate in the 18th Congress which will start in July 22, 2019.

Gatchalian said he intends to pursue legislative reforms that would help accelerate the country’s economic performance in the next Congress.

“This coming 18th Congress, we will be putting greater focus on implementing legislative reforms that will help break down barriers that foreign investors face in the country,” Gatchalian said.

“ These changes are long overdue – we need laws that are responsive to the needs of the domestic economy and accommodate the dynamics of the regional and global environment,” he stressed.