News: PCCI DEFENDS GOV?T INFRA DEV?T EFFORTS -
10 May 2008
Filipino businessmen led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry scored on foreign businessmen for continuously harping on the country’s poor physical infrastructure and not helping on how the country can improve and maximize its potentials. PCCI President Samie Lim pointed out that for this year alone the government is spending P800 billion for various infrastructure projects in different parts in the country.
The European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines has been saying that the lack of infrastructure development in the country is a major deterrent to foreign investments.
Lim cited that costs of doing business and even travels have gone down by as much as 50 percent because of the Strong Republic program of the government that connects the different islands through land and sea transport through the roll-on roll-off vessels.
"In fairness, we have really made a lot of progress because of the nautical highway, which is the biggest project the government has done," he added.Lim further took issue with the fact while tourism is Europe’s number one industry, no European businessman has offered to help on how the Philippines can maximize its tourism potentials.
"Tourism is Europe’s number one industry but I still have to see someone from the European side saying we could help you. They should teach us how we should pursue our tourism strategy," Lim said.
During the recent EU-Philippine Relations forum, European businessmen highlighted the issue of the country’s poor physical infrastructure particularly in energy, transport and water.
"The price of electricity is higher in the Philippines than in almost any other country in the region, while the basic transport network, notwithstanding work in progress on the Four Rs (road, rail and RoRo) remains far below the requirements of a middle income country dependent on exports for its lifeblood and I won’t even mention air transport, since all of us know the delights of the existing terminals though we have haven’t had the pleasure of getting to know NAIA 3," European Commission Ambassador to the Philippines Alistair MacDonald said in a speech at the forum.
The ECCP has been strongly pushing not just for opening of the controversial NAIA 3, which involves a German proponent, but also for the government to settle the investments poured in by the investors.(BCM)