Lawmaker pushes for creation of agency in charge of investors

By Elijah Felice Rosales – Business Mirror

Another government agency in charge of investors? A lawmaker believes this is necessary to further improve the country’s investment portfolio.

In a statement on Sunday, Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte of the Second District of Camarines Sur said it will benefit the economy if a department mandated to service investors is institutionalized. He claimed it is also in line with this administration’s commitment to sustain inclusive growth momentum by boosting foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and generating employment in the process.

“Investors are bullish on the country’s economic prospects, as shown by the steady climb in both committed and actual FDI inflows. We can be assured of this continuous rise in FDIs once we fully implement soon enough the EODB [ease of doing business] law,” Villafuerte argued.

He explained a new department in charge of investors will complement the EODB law. As a result, it will sharpen the country’s competitiveness as an investment destination in the region, Villafuerte said.

President Duterte reportedly revealed plans to put up a new agency that will deal with concerns of investors during his visits to Israel and Jordan. Villafuerte was a member of the President’s official delegation in his recent overseas trips.

The legislator also called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to expedite the crafting the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the EODB law.

He branded it a “shame” if the “perceived undue delay in its implementation” tempers investor confidence. “The EODB law will go a long way in boosting investor confidence and hauling in fresh FDI inflows that would spur greater economic activity and create more jobs,” Villafuerte said.

The country is banking on the EODB law to boost its ranking in the World Bank Doing Business report. In the 2018 cycle, the Philippines dropped 14 notches to 113th among 190 economies, and lagged behind Southeast Asian neighbors Singapore (second); Malaysia (24th); Thailand (26th); Brunei Darussalam (56th); Vietnam (68th); and Indonesia (72nd).

For Villafuerte, the EODB law is “crucial” in keeping investor confidence in the face of “political noise.” He added it will assist this administration in its objective of sustaining high growth momentum, cutting poverty incidence and turning the country into an upper middle-income economy by 2022.

In an earlier statement, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez insisted the DTI is on track to completing the IRR for the EODB law. He added his agency is still consulting with national and local government units on the provisions of the IRR, particularly in defining “simple transactions,” “complex transactions” and “highly technical transactions.”

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