Tusday, August 7, 2012 – While the rest of the world, for the most part, is in the depths of economic disaster, the country of the Philippines is experiencing an economic nirvana. From the United States comes a statement of confidence that is encouraging for our country.
Economist Tyler Cowen from George Mason University recently made the following statement. “When you look for countries that could be the world’s next rising star, you look for increasing growth, a stable fiscal deficit, strong English skills and a belief in education,” “The Philippines has all of those things. It has the best chance,” he added. Mr. Cowen stressed, though, that this was not an “absolute prediction,” with much depending on how the government makes the most of its opportunities.
Additional optimism is called for in that Mr. Cowen feels that there is limited exposure to the debt of Europe and the problems regarding the slowdown that China is currently experiencing. He believes that the country of the Philippine is positioned very well in this climate along with other countries such as Indonesia, Nigeria and Ghana as the rest of the world continues to slowdown economically.
There are still many problems to overcome in the Philippines according to many economists and experts. Corruption and the inability to complete key infrastructure projects in a timely fashion is still a huge issue that must be dealt with in the Philippines. Examples of such projects include the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, the Northrail transportation project connecting Manila to Clark, and the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. project. The stalled and corruption-laded deals prevent the country from moving to a more structured and first-world framework of doing business and keep hinder our ability to progress quickly.
Other experts are making mention of the need for an intercity Manila freeway system such as that found in Los Angeles or other major metropolises. The completion of other crucial infrastructure projects such as the connector road linking the North Luzon Expressway and the South Luzon Expressway is minimally required. This roadway alone should greatly reduce the congestion within Manila while creating additional growth in the outlying provinces.
Economists and university professors both in and outside of the country believe that there are many other key issues such as an adequate infrastructure throughout the nation that enables mass transportation for urban workers, air pollution health issues, adequate power reserves and fully redundant high speed data networks for industry, along with the growth of world-class medical facilities. It is crucial for the Philippine government to capitalize on this moment in history with the vim and vigor of a nation on the move towards the first world.
While still other experts believe the Philippines needs to update and change some of its draconian and outdated laws that have proved so counterproductive to growth and progress for the country. Such laws as the one instituted in the 1987 Constitution limiting foreign ownership of property and businesses places a damper on the influx of foreign capital and the resultant potential growth.
Additionally, outdated, taxation, labor, trade and zoning laws are hampering the full potential of the Philippines. Experts believe these laws need to be updated and changed if the country is to indeed gather the business investments that lead to employment, growth and prosperity.
These same experts believe that the Philippines are continuously losing a valuable pool of highly-skilled workers to foreign jobs abroad. These numerous losses of our advanced workforce essentially rob the country of a tremendous pool of talent and hinder the country’s potential for growth.
Economists also see the need for updating, automating and computerizing important governmental systems that are slow, laborious and inefficient. The usually simple procedure of obtaining a business license in other countries is done mainly online. The Philippines requires the business owner show-up at the Department of Trade and Industry in person to obtain the necessary permits. Besides being arduous and unnecessary, this type of procedure seems to reinforce potential corruption as a result of the required face to face negotiations with government officials.
The experts go on to say that such basic things as paying airline terminal fees separately at the airport rather than having them integrated into the price of an airline ticket is a simple change that can reduce overhead and burden to the international traveler along with obtain alignment with the rest of Asia and the world.
As the opportunities for the Philippines continue to expand, our country is poised for fantastic greatness if we can broaden our minds and embrace the new perspective of the interconnected world as we move deeper into the 21st century. The chance for a new truly prosperous Philippines exists if we get smart. Let’s seize the moment and move into an era of intelligent prosperity.