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The Philippines: ASEAN's next 'tiger economy'?

by: Mary Christine Galang

Monday, July 17, 2017 |

The Philippines ranks as one of the best-performing economies in Southeast Asia during the recent years, despite the weakened demand for exports, as well as a subdued agriculture sector, with the economy positioned to become the next "tiger economy" among ASEAN countries, according to the latest report by global research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG).

Its newest publication, "The Report: The Philippines 2017", stated that President Rodrigo R. Duterte's policy reforms like corporate income tax reduction will help the rising domestic consumption and growing services sector, as well as increase foreign investments.

Furthermore, losses in the agricultural sector will be compensated by industrial and manufacturing growth with more employment opportunities.

Public infrastructure is also forecasted to soar in the coming years, with the help of the private sector in the long-term transport development, which will present rich opportunities to foreign investors.

The 'tiger economy'

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reports that the Philippine GDP expanded at a rate of 6.8 percent in 2016, recovering from 5.9 percent in 2015, as a result of a strong domestic demand, a gradual recovery in exports and fiscal stimulus.

The report cited a 'promising' infrastructure spending, boosting foreign investments and increase in transportation development projects.

In addition, a projected 7 to 8 percent increase in GDP is said to be attainable over the medium term.

Paulius Kuncinas, managing editor for Asia for Oxford Business group, said, "The consensus is it is going to be the Philippines as the next tiger economy. The simple answer is that the Philippines is unique because it is a knowledge and service-based economy and consumption-led."

The BPO industry was named to be one of the driving factors for economic growth and will continue to see an uptick in high-value-added positions over the medium term.

Concentrating on neglected sectors such as mining and minerals should be encouraged, according to Kuncinas, as too much concentration in economic powerhouses can negatively affect the economy.

Developing the country's tourism industry can also significantly help grow the economy due to its service export potential.

Kuncinas urged the government to also focus on the ICT sector as it complements with other sectors.

He also cited the disparity between Metro Manila and rural areas in terms of economic, social, technological, infrastructure, and financial development that inhibits the latter from inclusive growth.

 

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