Finance undersecretary pushes for more infrastructure projects

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To be able to adequately compete with other emerging countries in Asia, the country needs to address big-ticket requirements in infrastructure such as ports, airports, roads and highways, Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said on Thursday.

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“Perhaps, the private sector can support the infrastructure projects of the government such as in the construction of new power plants, expressways and ports. To compete we should continue to address those problems,” Beltran said in his speech at the 6th Annual Corporate Treasury and CFO Summit-Philippines 2014.

He said the infrastructure gap is evidenced by the reality of congested airports, ports and the daily traffic jams in major streets, “and that there is a great need to fill up those infrastructure requirements.”

Beltran pointed out that the government is going to increase capital outlays to 6.4 percent of GDP [gross domestic product]in 2016.

“Although, some public-private partnership projects have already started, as of now the ones that have been awarded accounted for a paltry 2 percent of the government’s GDP [figure],” he said.

He stressed that the country cannot compete with its ASEAN rivals unless the private sector actively participates in the infrastructure projects of the government.

With the upcoming Asean Integration in 2015, the country should take advantage of the chance to lure some investors who are moving out of China because of rising wages and other factors there.

In July, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) vowed to resolve issues hounding the country’s transportation sector within the next 10 years.

In line with this, DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya said in a recent speech that the agency aims to drastically improve the country’s transportation infrastructures.

“We envision erasing the backlog in transportation infrastructure over the next five to 10 years, in such a way that the infrastructure we build will meet the country’s needs for the next 10 to 20 years,” Abaya said.

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