Investments targeted at improving the country’s energy capacity are vital if the Philippines is to sustain rapid economic growth and make this more inclusive, a Cabinet official said.
“As we continue to strengthen and improve the nation’s institutions, develop the country’s infrastructure, promote technological innovation, and pursue regulatory and structural reforms, we also have to carry out policies and programs that will improve the competitiveness and productivity of our industries,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said during the recently concluded 2016 Energy Policy and Development Program Conference.
These cannot be attained without an efficient, secure and sustainable energy sector, he noted, underscoring that energy remains crucial for economic growth and development and the Philippines’ potential of reaching high income status by 2040 provided the economy grows by 7 percent annually.
“While there have been improvements in infrastructure, we still lag behind our neighbors. In particular, investments in energy capacity need to be sustained, where the desired outcome is energy security,” said Balisacan, who is the National Economic and Development Authority director-general.
“This means ensuring the availability, quality, and affordability of electricity,” he added.
Balisacan cited a World Economic Forum report where the Philippines scored just 4.2 out of seven in terms of sufficiency and reliability of power supply. Also, almost 20 percent of households in the country do not have electricity, he added, with those who do having to pay almost twice average price in Southeast Asia.
“This means that we are losing out in competitiveness, thereby limiting our export orientation. Additionally, our energy and electricity consumption per capita is the lowest among eight countries. If we equate convenience as having access to more automated gadgets, then this means that we are the most deprived in terms of convenience,” the Cabinet official said.