MANILA, Philippines – The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Alan Yarrow, who arrived in the Philippines yesterday, February 12, acknowledged that the country’s booming economy has made it more attractive for potential trade and investment opportunities.
“You’ve been particularly successful in the last four years. You’ve been the choice of a number of companies to outsource back office, very good level of education, good command of English. Consequently, the world is coming to the Philippines. You can see it in GDP (gross domestic product) numbers and that is important,” he said to members of the media in attendance at yesterday’s press conference held at the Manila Peninsula.
However, the Lord Mayor pointed out that the country needs to deal with certain bottlenecks to growth; among these, the insufficient infrastructure, the gap in skill levels of its workforce, and creating a predictable business atmosphere.
“We can support the Philippines either through financing, project management or with design of projects or with Public Private Partnerships (PPPs),” he said, with regard to the lack on necessary infrastructure developments in the nation.
“If you invest money, you want tax rates to be predictable…Getting certainty of tax rates, of tax instance is important,” he likewise pointed out.
“Equally, having said that, there are issues to do with opening up the economy to more international qualifications and professions because as you grow, and you are growing very rapid at the moment, you need to have skill gaps filled. That is looking at things like accountancy, lawyers, all of whom would want to employ Filipino people which is making Filipino people more globally transportable,” he added.
The British Embassy in Manila said that the trip of the Lord Mayor, a ranking government official, aims to “strengthen UK-Philippine partnerships and promote British capabilities in the areas of public-private partnerships (PPP), and financial and professional services, as well as to promote inward investment into the UK for companies looking to expand into Europe.”
While in the Philippines, the Lord Mayor, who is the ambassador of financial and professional services industries based in the UK, will meet with key players in the local business and finance sectors; such as CEO’s of top UK and Philippine companies, the board members of the Philippine Stock Exchange, the heads of various government agencies (among them, Congress, the Department of Finance, the Bangko Sentral ng Philippines and PPP Center), as well as other administration officials.
The Philippine leg is part of the Lord Mayor’s mission to Southeast Asia, which includes stops in Myanmar and Thailand.