Business group urges evaluation of similar PH gov’t sovereign funds

The Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands (The Chamber) has recommended an in-depth analysis and evaluation of what it called as similar sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) existing in the country to help in coming up with a decision on the proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF).

In a statement, The Chamber President Jose Luis Yulo, Jr. said the Philippines already has in existence variations of sovereign wealth funds. These are the Malampaya Fund and the National Development Company (NDC). The Bangko Sentral ang Pilipinas, Social Security System, and the Government Service Insurance System all operate their reserves similar to sovereign wealth funds, said Yulo.

“Therefore, it is of extreme importance to do in-depth analysis and evaluation of the SWFs currently existing in the Philippines and in other countries,” he said.

The in-depth analysis should focus on its Pros and Cons and its “propensity for corruption and/or mismanagement and/or the vagaries of the global economy and true accountability must be intrinsic to the overseers of any Sovereign Wealth Fund.”

Yulo explained that the more important reasons for sovereign wealth funds are to enable a country to get rare metals or strategic requirements for their country’s development and security. Another important reason is to maximize the value of investment funds that normally come from “excess reserves earned from commodities, minerals or from natural resources.”

He noted that the experiences of other countries show both successes and failures of the concept, and of its actual management implementation.

Earlier, various business and think tank groups have strongly opposed the planned Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF) under House Bill 6398.

Proponents of the bill are House Speaker Martin Romualdez and Senior Deputy Speaker Ilocos Rep. Ferdinand Alexander "Sandro" Marcos, cousin and son of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., respectively.