MANILA, Philippines – The government must continue to address nagging issues in Mindanao to spur its economic growth as the recent upgrade by international credit rating agency Fitch Ratings will not be enough to generate investments in the region, an economist said over the weekend.
Economist and University of the Philippines professor Benjamin Diokno said the Fitch Ratings upgrade does not necessarily translate to the influx of investors in Mindanao, where many issues need to be addressed.
“Overall, the upgrade is a necessary but not sufficient condition for higher private investment. Much remains to be done by the government,” Diokno said.
He said government must provide better public infrastructure, reduce the cost of doing business, improve its revenue generating capacity, ensure policy consistency, and relax some restrictive provisions in the Constitution, among others.
“Mindanao as an investment destination has added wrinkles. Power supply adequacy and reliability and peace and order problems are quite severe,” he said.
Power outages in Mindanao average eight hours daily as the island suffers from a power shortfall of 294 megawatts with demand at 1,157 megawatts against an actual supply of only 863 megawatts.
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Diokno said government should also look into Mindanao’s “inefficient sea and air transport system.”
“Sadly these problems cannot be solved overnight. But they should be addressed with great sense of urgency,” he said.