DAVAO CITY: WHILE global business executives are still watching the US economy before making decisions for further competitiveness, the Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines, are expected as the next destination for fresh investments from CEOs in countries within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
This according to Alex Cabrera, chairman and senior partner at PwC Philippines, a tax, assurance, and advisory services, who today said foreign direct investments from APEC CEOs are still rising, more than 50 percent of which are being poured into the 21 APEC economies.
“The CEOs now have less confidence, so they’re holding off,” Cabrera said in a speech at The Fifth Business Forum of The Manila Times, dubbed “The Philippine Economic Outlook for 2017: Peace Toward Sustainable Prosperity,” held at the Marco Polo Hotel, in Davao City. “And we must have a healthy regional environment if we want to attract the CEOs to invest.”
In his presentation titled “PwC APEC CEO Survey and Conversations: Fast-Growth … Slow-Growth World,” Cabrera stressed that for the Philippines to attract more investments it needs to make, among many factors, financing accessible to small enterprises and realize massive spending on infrastructure as promised.
“We must also focus on the agricultural sector and leverage social enterprises, improve investment framework, and open up the economy through liberalization,” he said, adding that there must also be “transparency and aboveboard dealings with all government agencies, starting at the ports, and a friendlier and fair tax environment, assessment and refund.”
He also stressed the importance of leveraging technology and teaching applied sciences in schools; the ease of doing business all over the country, and the building of a better Visayas and Mindanao (VisMin).
Stressing the government’s strategy the rebalance growth and development opportunities across sectors and socioeconomic groups nationwide, Cabrera said that VisMin has six hotspot areas for investments, namely, Iloilo City, Bacolod, Metro Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Metro Davao, and General Santos City.
He said that that VisMin’s focus industries, citing a study titled “Building Better VisMin,” include manufacturing, infrastructure, retail, real estate, tourism and agro-tourism, as well as agriculture, fishery, and forestry.