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Australian firms asked to witness ‘blockbuster growth story’ of PH

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Finance Secretary Ralph Recto asked Australian investors to be part of the Philippines’ “blockbuster” growth story during the Philippine Business Forum in Melbourne, Australia.

Recto said the Philippines rolled out the red carpet and reserved the best seat for foreign investors.

“This is an exciting opportunity that Australian investors should certainly not miss out on,” he told around 100 Australian business and investment leaders and government officials during his speech on March 4, 2024 at the Ritz Carlton in Melbourne.

Recto presented the Department of Finance’s (DOF) comprehensive plan to drive investments-led growth through its Growth-Enhancing Actions and Resolutions (GEARs), which works in tandem with the government’s fiscal consolidation plan––the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF).

“A key aspect of this strategy is welcoming investors with open arms to achieve investments-led growth through improvements in the regulatory regime, reduction in the cost of doing business, and addressing constraints,” he said.

Recto noted President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s swift enactment of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code of the Philippines, saying it is a resounding testament to the government’s commitment to fostering stronger collaboration with the private sector.

Signed into law on Dec. 5, 2023, the PPP Code offers a stable, predictable, and competitive environment where high-quality PPP investments can thrive.

Recto urged Australian investors to invest in the country’s flagship infrastructure projects primed and ready for PPP investments under the President’s Build Better More program.

The program features 185 big-ticket infrastructure projects worth P9.14 trillion (about $163 billion) ranging from power, physical connectivity, rural development, water resources, digitalization, sustainable initiatives and healthcare.

Recto said the government’s swift approval of the solicited PPP proposal to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which was the fastest approved PPP project in history evaluated in an unprecedented six weeks, is a testament to how quickly and efficiently the Philippine government acts on investments.

“Rest assured, you can expect nothing less than the same speed and efficient handling of your investments when you partner with us,” he said.

Recto said investors also have the option to invest in other big-ticket projects through the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF)––the Philippines’ first sovereign wealth fund.

He said the Philippines also warmly welcomes expanded investment opportunities, particularly in telecommunications, transportation, banking, mining, and energy sectors, following the recent implementation of its liberalization laws and other pro-business policies.

The amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA) lowered the minimum paid-up capital requirement for foreign corporations from about $2.5 million to around $500,000 and streamlined the qualification requirements for foreign retailers.


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