By Cielito F. Habito
In 2000-2011, we attracted an average of $1.1 billion in net foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows per year, a pittance against Singapore’s $14.8 billion, Thailand’s $4.5 billion, Vietnam’s $3.9 billion, and Indonesia’s $2.3 billion. But last year, our net FDI inflows already amounted to $3.9 billion, nearly four times the earlier average annual figure. Impressive? Not quite, once you consider that our neighbors have already pulled away even farther. Last year, Indonesia attracted $18.4 billion; Vietnam got $8.9 billion, Thailand $13 billion, and Singapore $61 billion. In short, given our neighbors’ figures, and considering our faster economic growth, we should have drawn in even more FDI than we did. So why didn’t we?
By Peter Wallace
I’ve always believed that you make better decisions when you face facts. Let’s start with this headline in BusinessWorld last Sept. 5: “Philippines found among most restrictive.”
By Cielito F. Habito
Finally, we got some good news on the jobs front with the latest jobs statistics coming out of the April 2014 quarterly Labor Force Survey.
By Walden Bello
The push to amend the Constitution is underway. The focus is on watering down and eventually nullifying the so-called nationalist provisions of the charter, which, proponents claim, constitute the central obstacle to sustained growth. The pro-charter change lobby in Congress derives its inspiration from economists such as Gerry Sicat, who, as head of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) during the Marcos dictatorship, presided over one of the most disastrous periods in Philippine economic history, and Bernie Villegas, the free market ideologue who is the toast of the foreign business community.
The vision is the integration of the economies of the 10 member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) whose combined gross domestic product is $2 trillion, to create a new economic powerhouse where there is free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labor and capital. The goal is the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) by 2015. That’s next year, obviously pretty close, given the challenges still to be met. The AEC commits to form a single market and production base.