Duterte, business leaders to discuss country's economic future -...

Duterte, business leaders to discuss country's economic future - CNN Philippines

Shared/Posted: Jun 21, 2016 at 02:35pm

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(CNN Philippines) — President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is on a mission to woo the business sector with his 10-point economic agenda.

On Monday, incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez will present the next administration's plans before hundreds of business leaders who will come to Davao City for a two-day "consultative conference."

The business community is expected to scrutinize the plans in a series of workshops and open forums. The convention will emphasize the need to sustain the country's robust economic growth, while making it more inclusive to most Filipinos.

They will present their recommendations to Duterte on the second day.

According to a media release, Duterte's agenda aims to:

Continue and maintain current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary, and trade policies.
Institute progressive tax reform and more effective tax collection, indexing taxes to inflation. A tax reform package will be submitted to Congress by September 2016.

Increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business, and pursue the relaxation of the Constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership, except as to regards land ownership, in order to attract foreign direct investment.

Accelerate annual infrastructure spending to account for 5 percent of GDP, with Public-Private Partnerships playing a key role.

Promote rural and value chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and rural tourism.

Ensure security of land tenure to encourage investments, and address bottlenecks in land management and titling agencies.

Invest in human capital development, including health and education systems, and match skills and training to meet the demand of businesses and the private sector.

Promote science, technology, and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity towards self-sustaining, inclusive development.

Improve social protection programs, including the government's Conditional Cash Transfer program, to protect the poor against instability and economic shocks.

Strengthen implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices on financial and family planning.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairperson Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr. said that the group has "high expectations" for the conference.

"This is the first time that an incoming president is calling for a consultation with the business sector," he pointed out. "We will try to look at the 10-point agenda of the incoming administration and try to make recommendations and try to pick the priorities that can be done."

On the tax reform side, incoming Socioeconomic Secretary Ernesto Pernia, said that the Duterte administration will aim to make the tax scheme more progressive, "meaning lesser burden on the lower income than the higher income groups, and also more equitable in that sense."

He added that Duterte will " to whatever businessmen will have to say."

The Philippine economy grew by nearly 7 percent in the first quarter this year, making it the fastest growing among 11 selected Asian countries during the period, the government said on May 19.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the country's gross domestic product (GDP) — the value of goods and services produced by a country — grew by 6.9 percent during this period, faster than China's 6.7 percent and Vietnam's 5.7 percent.

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