Diokno says Brexit ‘may have little or no impact’ on PHL economy

By , on June 25, 2016

European Union (ShutterStock image)
European Union (ShutterStock image)

MANILA – Incoming Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno said exit of the UK from the 28-country European Union (UN) is expected to have little or no impact on the Philippine economy.

“Unless, of course, Brexit would lead to the collapse of EU, which I think is remote,” he said.

On Friday (Manila time), the “leave” votes won over the “remain” votes in the June 23 UK referendum, with a 51.9 to 48.1 ratio.

Diokno, an economist, a professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics, and the Budget Secretary from June 1998 to January 2001 under the Estrada administration, said the country’s problems are mostly domestic in nature.

“Most of our problems – poor infrastructure, high costs of doing business, sluggish agriculture, widespread poverty – are domestic in nature. We need to address them regardless of what is happening externally,” he noted.

Diokno, during the recent dialogue between businessmen and the incoming Duterte Cabinet early this week, said they target to further increase government spending on infrastructure to hike its proportion on domestic output as much as six percent from the current five percent.

The focus will not only be on big-ticket items but also on small and medium-sized projects, he said, citing that the latter can be implemented without the use of the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative for these to materialize immediately.

“There are lots of infrastructure projects for the country that can be done without PPP,” he said.

“We will prioritize number one, agriculture (and the) number of infrastructure. We are planning to spend as much as five percent to six percent, for infrastructure. And we’re thinking about Php800 billion to Php1 trillion for infrastructure,” he said.