7 June 2019 – The Makati Business Club joined the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and 20 other business organizations in hosting a joint membership meeting featuring Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez as keynote speaker. Secretary Dominguez discussed the status of the government’s ambitious infrastructure program and the policies it will push in the 18th Congress.
First, he reported that there has been underspending in the first quarter of the year due to the budget impasse, which he said led to missed opportunities for resulted in job creation, poverty alleviation, and infrastructure development.According to the Secretary, the government has carefully crafted an expenditure catch-up plan to accelerate spending for the rest of the year, including spending P792.8 billion between Q2 and Q4 for infrastructure projects, in order to achieve above-6% GDP growth this year. In terms of the government’s infrastructure plans, Mr. Dominguez reported that Japan, China, and South Korea have offered assistance through ODA, investments, and/or development aid packages. Japan has been the most supportive, pledging P9 billion for the Philippine infrastructure program.
Mr. Dominguez assured the business leaders that the government adopts the highest standards of fiscal discipline and “borrows with great prudence” in all infrastructure projects. In the next Congress, DOF will be pushing for reforms in the following areas: comprehensive tax reform including corporate income tax and incentives, and increasing foreign investments and participation in key sectors. Government also plans to double its efforts in order to expand the growth of the agriculture sector to at least 2% per annum.