SONA should have addressed strong peso, power problem — PCCI
Businessmen find the State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III okay, but were disappointed that plans to control the peso’s appreciation and lower the cost of power were not addressed, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) chairman Sergio Ortiz-Luis said in an interview with reporters Monday.
Ortiz-Luis said it would have been better if the President mentioned government plans for small and medium enterprises and exporters in the country.
"He did not mention anything about export promotion and what the government should do to the appreciation of the peso which is hurting the exporters," he said.
PCCI president Miguel Varela suggested over the weekend that Aquino should consider the group's recommendations on controlling peso appreciation, such as having a moratorium on foreign borrowings, because every time we borrow, the peso appreciates.
Varela suggested that borrowings be in peso instead of dollars.
"What is more important for us businessmen is a more stable and predictable macroeconomic fundamentals. We want a clear-cut policy direction aimed at attracting more FDIs (foreign direct investments)," he said.
PCCI expected Aquino to mention plans lower the cost of power in the country, as ours is one of the most expensive in Asia and businessmen consider it a deterrent to investments.
However, there was no mention of the energy problem, particularly in Mindanao, where cities and towns endured rotating brownouts earlier this year, which affected businesses in the region.
Ortiz-Luis also said the President should have specified what kind of jobs were created when he said "3.1 million jobs were created for the last two years."
However, Ortiz-Luis commended Aquino's list of what should be done in the next four years.
"I especially took note of the numbers of infrastructure projects, like ports, airports, and roads that he said would be completed before he steps down from office in 2016. That is one in our wish list," he said.
Aquino had said that two elevated connector projects for NLEX and SLEX would be finished by 2015, and that airports in Panglao, Bohol, Daraga in Albay and Laguindingan in Misamis Oriental would be completed before his term ends. He also mentioned the scheduled upgrade of international airports in Mactan, Cebu, Tacloban in Leyte, and Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
"I don't think I have to rate the speech, if it was acceptable or not. Maybe the President has a different level of priorities," Ortiz-Luis said. — VS, GMA News
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