Trade up, Philippines
TRADE receipts shot up by 10 percent last August, a much faster increase than what was seen in July (2.5 percent) and June (1.5 percent).
The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), which shared the good news reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority, said this also emphasizes the need to proceed with reforms that will allow more Filipinos to compete in digital trade and e-commerce.
These positive numbers couldn’t have come at a better time for NEDA, which Sen. Franklin Drilon asked last week to account for the slowdown in the entry of new investments. At US$3.6 billion for January to June 2017, foreign direct investments (FDI) were 14 percent less than what the country received in the first half of 2016, the central bank’s data show ed.
But business expectations for these last three months of 2017 are upbeat, NEDA pointed out, in part because of expectations surrounding the public infrastructure spending program and the expected rise in consumer demand this Christmas. It also explained that Senator Drilon had focused on foreign equity placements. While these are important figures, these are only a part of the total FDI and a partial view of investor confidence.
When political wrangling and show biz distractions compete for much of our attention, it is easy to forget other aspects of our national life that also need our eyeballs and, more importantly, our concerted efforts.
That includes a clear-eyed look at what Filipinos can make that the world market will embrace. Exports grew for a ninth straight month, for instance, because our hard-working small and medium entrepreneurs found ways to sell more goods to the rest of Southeast Asia (13.9 percent more exports in August) and the European Union (31.3 percent growth). Also critical is our leaders’ ability to fight for longneeded reforms, like those that will make it easier for all enterprises, whether startup or established, to get government clearances and to do business. A crucial reform area is the Bureau of Customs, which needs to overcome not only recurring allegations of corruption, but also to do its job with more transparency.
As eager as we Filipinos have always been to argue, whether about politics or personal choices, we need to remember to work together despite our differences. We need to stop beating ourselves up, from time to time, before all our expectations of doom become self-fulfilling pr opheci es.