Why FDIs are low in the Philippines

In East Asia, the Philippines has the lowest level of foreign direct investments (FDIs). A major explanation is the very Constitution of the Philippines, which restricts or prohibits foreign investments in strategic sectors of the economy. Other reasons are our notoriety for corruption, the high cost of electricity and the generally poor state of infrastructures.

I would like to quote from a good friend who sent me an e-mail after he attended a recent meeting where our government officials made a strong case for investing in the Philippines to a group of visiting European business people. After listening to the glowing remarks of our top government officials, my friend presented me with the following experiences of his as regards investing in the Philippines. I quote from his email: “Just the other evening, I attended a dinner party where, in one table, there sat a Spanish couple who have been doing business in the country over these past five years. Both expressed the feeling of having been welcomed to the country as well as the wonderful people they have met. On the other hand, he has been driven up a wall at one time or another. There were instances that led him to comment that had he been twenty years younger, he would have pulled up stakes and gone to Vietnam—who was offering him the chance to OWN land to set up his business—and all he needed was one thousand square meters!

“With this ‘event’ in mind plus comments from today’s speakers, I asked myself if there was ever an ‘investor’s road map’ of sorts that one could follow as if going down a check-list—and end up with the option of putting up a business or ‘kissing the boys goodbye.’ Would you personally know if any such ‘investment road-map checklist’ exists—a bonafide bureaucratic-less check list that can be followed—and end up at the point of coming to an actual commercial investment decision? There being none, can this thought be materialized as an action program with its proper IRR by September 2011?

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer


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