Inquirer.net : Incoming Neda chief Balisacan: Revive manufacturing for sustainable poverty reduction

By Beatrice Pinlac | Inquirer.net

MANILA, Philippines — Strengthening the manufacturing sector to alleviate poverty and spur economic growth is the priority of returning National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Arsenio Balisacan under the administration of president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“Our manufacturing, for one, has to be revived,” he said over ABS-CBN News on Friday.

“The lessons of recent history is if you have a robust manufacturing sector in the early stages of your development, poverty reduction is so fast and is likely sustainable.”

Balisacan, who held the same post under the late former president Benigno Aquino III, stressed that if the country aims to be at par with economically thriving countries, the “reduction of socio-economic inequities” should have been resolved long ago.

“If you look at international comparisons of countries, you’ll see that the ease of doing business in this country is terrible. And it’s improved quite substantially but it’s slow improvement. We need to do so much more,” he pointed out.

Balisacan also noted that eliminating potential concerns of investors, including issues on lagging digitization, should likewise be at the forefront of the country’s measures for economic development.

“We all hear complaints about the state of our digitization and also in my current work, vigorously enforcing competition policy to ensure that sectors in the economy, like manufacturing, do not have barriers to entry that prevent potential investors from coming in,” he said.

Marcos Jr.’s chief-of-staff Atty. Vic Rodriguez on Monday confirmed that Balisacan has accepted the offer to head NEDA under the incoming administration.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Benjamin Diokno, who was tasked to lead the Department of Finance, is among those who are joining Balisacan in the Cabinet.