Infra projects to lift PH competitiveness 

Sustainable infrastructure and enhanced manufacturing are needed to boost the country's global competitiveness, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said in a report by Manila Times.

Reacting to the findings of the 2024 World Competitiveness Ranking by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Pascual said that 52nd place — unchanged from last year — highlighted both progress and challenges.

The Philippines remained in the bottom fourth out of a list of 67 economies. It was also second to the last among 14 Asia Pacific countries.

In terms of the four main competitiveness factors, the country improved in terms of government efficiency, gaining three spots to 49th, and stayed in 40th place with regard to economic performance.

It fell three spots, however, to 43rd in the area of business efficiency and saw its infrastructure ranking slip to 61st from 58th last year.

In the area of education — a sub-factor of the infrastructure score — it was at 63rd, down one spot from 2023. It also saw its basic infrastructure position slip to 62nd from 58th.

Of the three remaining infrastructure sub-factor rankings, all but one declined: technological infrastructure (55th from 48th), scientific infrastructure (60th from 57th), and health and environment (unchanged at 60th).

Breaking the infrastructure factors down even further, the country actually scored high in terms of high-tech exports (2nd), mobile telephone costs (4th), forest area growth (9th) and renewable energy percentage (11th).

Its other infrastructure strengths, the IMD said, are in information and communications technology service exports (11th), graduates in sciences (21st), mobile broadband subscribers (24th), language skills (26th), and medium- and high-tech value added (28th).

It was in the bottom 10, however, with regard to internet users (66th), communications technology (66th), medical assistance (65th), water use efficiency (65th), pollution problems (65th), secure internet servers (64th), broadband subscribers (64th), secondary education pupil-teacher ratio (63rd), number of patents in force (63rd) and human development index (62nd).

Among the main challenges for the Philippines this year, the IMD said, are addressing learning gaps to improve the educational system and building sustainable infrastructure in light of the country's vulnerability to climate change.

"Sustainable infrastructure is vital for enhancing competitiveness and mitigating climate change," Pascual said.

"We are dedicated to transform[ing] the Philippines into an attractive investment destination, boosting jobs and exports and maintaining a positive trade balance," he added.

The trade chief said that there were also efforts to enhance the manufacturing sector with Industry 4.0 technologies — artificial intelligence and other digital technologies — that could foster innovation and, in turn, boost production efficiency and competitiveness.

"Through collective efforts and strategic initiatives, we are committed to positioning the Philippines as a leading hub for competitive and sustainable businesses in Southeast Asia, ensuring a prosperous future for all Filipinos," he said.

Pascual also emphasized that the Trade department was prioritizing addressing key challenges such as curbing inflation, which reached 5.98 percent in 2023, and sustaining job-generating investments.

Ensuring food security to control inflation and keep prices affordable is also another challenge tagged by the IMD along with sustaining job-generating investments and resolving the country's rights to the West Philippine Sea.

The trade chief reaffirmed his department's commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment and driving economic development.

The need for upskilling the workforce to meet the evolving demands of the job market was also highlighted to ensure that Filipino workers were competitive in a rapidly changing global economy.


Real estate is no longer just Location, Location, Location. 
Now, it’s about Location, Information…and Timing! 

- Alejandro Manalac, Executive Publisher

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