EUROPEAN Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said that executives and potential investors, especially the ones partnering with the government, “are certainly not keen” in putting up their enterprises to the country as he enumerated faulty government handlings of business transactions.
Henry Schumacher, external affairs vice president of ECCP, said in a statement that business executives would not want to “trip over fine print of laws, implementing rules and regulations and local power brokers with agendas at odds with Manila.”
“Executives expect to have to navigate the country’s bad infrastructure, the rigid labor market, red tape and remaining pockets of corruption,” Schumacher said.
He said so in reference to the current government mishandling of business such as Maynilad Water Systems Inc. and Manila Water Company’s concession agreement with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewarage System (MWSS) which have reached the Supreme Court.
Schumacher pressed that these billings are already in place for more than 15 years since 1997 but then MWSS “suddenly found something wrong with the water charges,” imposing midstream changes that upset peaceful operations.
“It illustrates the difficulty of doing business with the government,” Schumacher said.
“Government has to understand that ‘trust’ is the asset it has to have. It’s precisely because of changing rules midstream that investors are more and more reluctant to invest long-term,” he added.
Schumacher stressed that public-private partnerships (PPP) usually last 25 years and with the uncertainties shown by government, it is only breeding a “huge trust deficit” to investors.