Jul 042013

MANILA, Philippines – The Aquino Administration is making a big push to expand its  manufacturing,  agriculture, infrastructure and tourism sectors as it works toward achieving sustainable, inclusive growth.

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said the government would focus its efforts on attracting investments into the country as well as creating jobs to keep the local economy moving forward.

 “There’s going to be a greater push for expansion in industries because of the challenge of inclusive growth, that’s why more investments are needed to promote poverty reduction and job generation,” Abad said.

In particular, he said the Aquino Administration is looking to get more investments into the country’s infrastructure development program as it rolls out more projects to boost infrastructure spending to five percent of GDP by 2016.

 Abad said increased infrastructure spending would help spur the growth of key industries like agriculture and tourism while at the same time getting more people into work.

Between now and 2016, the government must adopt measures to create a total of 14.6 million jobs.

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“We’re going to be rationalizing the infra program because unlike in the past, each agency was worrying about its own infra program.  But since we’re very clear about economic targets, this time around we have to operate differently, meaning there has to be somebody who will oversee the government’s infra plan,” he said.

In the five months ending May this year, government infrastructure spending reached P106.4 billion, up 35.6 percent from P77.1 billion in the same period in 2012.

The World Bank  and the Asian Development Bank earlier said the Philippines needs to jack up its spending on infrastructure to provide that fiscal spark to sustain the upward momentum of its economy.

According to the World Bank, the Philippine government needs to pursue “productive investment, noting that the country’s investment efficiency has deteriorated in the last decade.

National Economic and Development Authority director general Arsenio Balicasan said the government has prioritized some projects under its public-private partnership program that are aimed at further developing transportation, power and tourism in the country.

Goldman Sachs earlier said the Philippines might need to shell out $110 billion to meet the growing demand for quality infrastructure, with power projects accounting for the biggest share of the total amount ($46 billion).  Investments in road projects are seen to reach $24 billion, railways $23 billion, sea ports $$8 billion, water and sanitation $6 billion and airports $2 billion.

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