A 10-percent growth in the Philippine manufacturing industry is achievable next year, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Wednesday.
On the sidelines of the Manufacturing Summit 2017 at Fairmont Makati hotel, Lopez explained that this figure can be achieved, “because we already achieved a 9.4-percent [growth in manufacturing].”
“If we already achieved that 9.4, then we can sustain it to 10 [percent]or 11 percent. But we have to really put programs and implement policies that will push manufacturing forward,” he said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported early this month that the economy grew 6.9 percent on the back of a robust manufacturing industry, which increased its share of gross domestic product (GDP) by 22.4 percent in the third quarter of 2017.
The growth was one of the fastest in the region, outpacing China (6.8 percent), Malaysia (5.8 percent) and Singapore (4.6 percent).
Lopez said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is closing in on a minimum growth target for the manufacturing industry to 25 percent of the country’s GDP, given these figures.
“The department remains relentless in its efforts to revive factories, expand production, generate employment and enable the industry to provide the catalyst that will build the seamless link between a productive agriculture and a strong services sector,” the secretary said.
To attain this, Lopez said the Board of Investments (BOI), an attached agency of the DTI, has formulated a new industrial policy called the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S).
This strategy aims to grow innovative and globally competitive manufacturing, agriculture and services sectors while strengthening their linkages to domestic and global value chains.
“With innovation at the front and center of the country’s strategic policies and programs, industries would be in a better position to face competition in both domestic and export markets,” Lopez said.
“With accompanying measures to improve capacity to penetrate export markets, industries could take advantage of increasing returns to scale and market access opportunities, especially those arising from free trade agreements and increasing integration in the Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] Economic Community. Innovation is crucial in addressing the challenges [in]automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and other new technologies,” he added.
For his part, Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said the investments board is forecasting a robust manufacturing sector, with more high-impact, labor intensive and socially relevant manufacturing investment projects coming in.
“With the swift approval of the 2017 Investments Priorities Plan [IPP], which was designed to spread the benefits of the country’s fast economic growth to the countryside, with emphasis on a broader segment of the manufacturing sector [and]innovation-driven and job-generating businesses, we see a robust growth of manufacturing investment projects this year,” Rodolfo said.
Last year, the manufacturing sector generated P49 billion in investments, which is 11 percent of the total investments registered.
“The revival of the manufacturing sector is key to inclusive economic growth, because it will generate much-needed employment and help the country tap regional production networks,” Rodolfo said.