2015 ANZCHAM Advocacy Theme
Nurturing economic growth; Enabling competitive business environment
Over the years, ANZCHAM’s advocacy and policy program has been geared towards ensuring consistent implementation of policies in support of economic and business development. Over the years, relevant sectors and issues affecting ANZ trade and business in the Philippines have emerged. The continuous acceleration of the Philippine economy is being met with great optimism but at the same time caution given pending reforms that need to be undertaken to ensure inclusive growth and long term economic stability. Along these lines, ANZCHAM’s Advocacy Program will embody effective response on key and emerging issues confronting the Philippines.
ASEAN Economic Community. The implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in December 2015 is highly anticipated by the Philippine business community. ANZ being signatories to the AANZFTA are bound to benefit from the AEC. ANZCHAM’s role is to support the continuous development of industries and activities to enable a competitive business environment under the AEC.
Legislative Agenda. ANZCHAM’s legislative agenda aims to promote a proactive policy environment that seeks to enable businesses and enterprises gain comparative advantage in international trade and local growth and expansion. ANZCHAM’s legislative priorities are consistent with JFC’s priorities while highlighting the following key legislation that will promote better opportunities for ANZCHAM members in various sectors of interest to the Chamber: (1) competition law; (2) customs modernization and tariff reform amendments; (3) land use act; (4) BOT law amendments; (5) Department of Information and Communications (DICT) Bill; (6) Amending the Economic Provisions of the Constitution. Furthermore, ANZCHAM will monitor and oppose legislation that are counterproductive to the interest of its members such as amendment of the Mining Law, Ban on export of minerals, including fiscal measures that will create additional burden for businesses.
MSME Development. ANZCHAM believes that an inclusive economic growth can only be sustained if the backbone of business activities is well in place to support industries and services. With 99% of businesses in the Philippines classified as MSMEs, it is imperative to enable greater MSME support and participation particularly in the global and regional supply chains given the Philippines’ vantage point within ASEAN. Furthermore, as part of its CSR program, ANZCHAM will help support the development of a business recovery program/ project that will provide guidance and support for MSMEs in undertaking business recovery and planning in times of calamities or natural disasters. ANZCHAM will work with government, various service providers and donors to develop such program.
Regulatory Reforms and Policies to improve Investor Confidence in key sectors affecting ANZ firms. FDIs are important to sustain Philippines’ economic growth. Sectors such as Mining, Energy & Power and Infrastructure require long term investments to ensure job creation and support to other industries and sectors. While there is a strong potential for the Philippines to attract long term investments in these sectors, foreign investors are beset with regulatory constraints that affect their confidence in the Philippine economy. Looking at ANZCHAM’s membership demographic, Mining, Energy & Power and Infrastructure (PPP) are critical industries where ANZ presence is imperative while regulatory reforms and policies are necessary to improve overall investor confidence.
ILP Program. With the looming energy crisis anticipated to hit Luzon in 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2015, ANZCHAM is supportive of measures that will attract private sector participation to address power and energy gaps. The Interruptible Load Program (ILP) provides near term solution in generating capacity to avert power shortages. ANZCHAM will pursue ongoing campaigns to generate membership support for the ILP while it will seek to continuously cooperate with the JFC and other business organizations in ensuring a comprehensive energy policy that enables sufficient power supply and competitive power rates in the long term.
Labour competitiveness through education and skills training. For years now, the Philippines-Australia-New Zealand relations have enabled education and skills development for academics and professionals in various fields. With the growing and strong ANZ alumni network in the Philippines, ANZCHAM’s advocacy on labour and competitiveness will be supported by programs that promote greater cooperation between theses countries in skills and technical education. Furthermore, ANZCHAM will explore more venues to provide inputs to labour policy reforms in the Philippines particularly in productivity, skills mismatch and supporting mechanisms to ensure tripartite cooperation among government, business and trade unions especially in responding to challenges of AEC and global competitiveness.
Competitive environment for BPO Industry. One of the important sectors for ANZCHAM is the BPO industry. With one million jobs already created by the industry, the BPO sector proves to be an economic driver where several other sectors (i.e. construction, retail, tourism) have also benefited from its surge. ANZCHAM supports the creation of a competitive business environment for BPOs to continue to thrive. It also supports ANZ firms’ emerging interest in the Philippine market as a hub for offshore and outsourcing activities.
Good Governance. Good governance is a unifying theme that promotes business and investor confidence in the Philippine economy. As such, governance in the context of both public and private sector accountability and transparency is a priority for ANZCHAM. Referencing this theme are critical areas of judicial reform, integrity initiative and anti-corruption, which ANZCHAM, together with the JFC and other business organizations, supports.
Streamlining business processes, permits and licenses. ANZCHAM will provide representation for its members in advocating a streamlined business process in various government agencies (national and local) to effectively promote a competitive business landscape and support investment growth and expansion. Coordination with various government agencies such as NCC, DTI, DILG and league of cities and municipalities will be undertaken through the conduct of forums and business seminars as well as participation in public forums and discussions. ANZCHAM will also provide inputs on projects funded by the donor community to enable better coherence of policy recommendations and interventions to promote better business environment.