Philippine president vows to improve business environment

00:23, July 27, 2010      

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Philippine President Benigno Aquino III vowed that he will promote a more conducive business environment under his six-year term, noting that spurring investments in the country will help in bringing down the country' s high unemployment rate.

"Creating jobs is foremost on our agenda, and the creation of jobs will come from the growth of our industries. Growth will only be possible if we streamline processes to make them predictable, reliable and efficient for those who want to invest," Aquino said in his first State of the Nation Address delivered at the opening of the 15th Congress.

Aquino said Build-Operate-and-Transfer projects will undergo quick and efficient processes. The Department of Trade and Industry has already taken steps to speed up the registration of businesses. He also asked local officials to review and streamline its business processing procedures.

He also asked the Congress to pass an Anti-Trust Law to ensure a fair market and discourage monopolies.

"We need a law that will give life to these principles, to afford small and medium-scale enterprises the opportunity to participate in the growth of our economy," he said.

Aquino will also tap the private sector to help in funding needed infrastructure for tourism, agriculture and the military.

"Although no contract has been signed yet, I can say that ongoing talks with interested investors will yield fruitful outcomes. There are some who have already shown interest and want to build an expressway from Manila that will pass through Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, until the end of Cagayan Valley, without the government having to spend a single peso," he said.

He added that public-private partnerships will be also help fund the government's health and education projects.

Aquino noted that he will not tolerate questionable business practices, and will relentlessly pursue tax evaders and smugglers.

"Through the leadership of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez, and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, every week we have new cases filed against smugglers and against those who do not pay the right taxes," he said.

Such move, Aquino said, will help boost tax collections and close the huge fiscal deficit.

The Philippine's budget shortfall widened to 196.7 billion pesos (4.2 billion U.S. dollars) in the first six months of the year as huge government expenditure can't keep up with thin revenues.

Source: Xinhua


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