Reforms to boost infra spending pushed

By on November 22, 2017


The Philippines needs to amend some laws and undertake reforms as it ramps up infrastructure spending to boost the economy. (Photo by mjlsha/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)
The Philippines needs to amend some laws and undertake reforms as it ramps up infrastructure spending to boost the economy. (Photo by mjlsha/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

MANILA — The Philippines needs to amend some laws and undertake reforms as it ramps up infrastructure spending to boost the economy.

Raoul Villegas, Director for Deals and Corporate Finance at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), said the government aimed to spend PHP8.4 trillion on infrastructure until 2022.

“But beyond that (number), there are also other angles that we have to think about in terms of, for example, to be able to bring significant change in infrastructure and other parts of the economy,” he said in a seminar Wednesday organized by the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Trade.

Villegas particularly cited the need to amend laws like the Public Service Act and change the Constitutional provisions restricting foreign ownership.

The country limits foreign ownership to 40 percent in some industries.

“In our logistics sector, there have been reforms in the cabotage law but these reforms don’t go far enough to be able to lower transportation costs within the economy because we are an archipelago,” he added.

Under the Cabotage Law, domestic coastal shipping service can only be provided by domestic carriers.

“It is not just about numbers. The government has to be able, with the help of the private sector, to build the capacity to be able to manage projects, carry those projects. Capacity building is very important,” Villegas further said.