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Development in the Philippines

Development in the Philippines
 
Date/Time: Jul 28, 2005 / 5.00pm
Venue: Harbour Grill Restaurant at the Hilton Hotel
 

Since taking office in July 2004, the new Philippines administration has formulated a set of reforms to address the Philippines’ long-standing problems in the fiscal, power and banking sectors. The economy had performed better than expected. With exports staging a recovery and consumption boosted by overseas remittances and the election, GDP had grown by 6.1%, up from 4.7% in 2003.

However, towering prices, high unemployment (11.9%), reduced government spending (in line with fiscal consolidation strategy) on social development projects and a decline in export growth all point to a slowdown in economic growth in the year 2005. Successive deficits have led to the accumulation of a large debt stock and doubled the country’s debt service payments over the last six years. With the major part of the reform agenda still unfinished, vulnerabilities arising from the country’s external debt and financing requirements remain high. Will the Philippines find it difficult to meet its larger external borrowing needs? Another serious concern as regards the deficit is its use to finance consumption rather than investment. Government borrowing reached PHP 242.5 billion in 2004 to meet its financial requirements (27.5% of total expenditure). This will mean that additional tax revenue is required to cut the country’s dependence on borrowing and reduce the debt stock

The political events of the past three weeks and renewed public pressure on President Arroyo to resign have strengthen the belief that the country’s structural impediments stretch far beyond mere economics. With the rapid increase of oil prices across Asiaand political uncertainty in the Philippines, will this signify the end of the country’s economic outperformance?

Join our esteemed speaker, Mr Jose Isidro N. Camacho in an informal and close up lunch dialogue session as he delves into the developments in Philippines. Mr Camachois the Managing Director of Credit Suisse First Boston, and the Vice Chairman of Non-Japan Asia. He is a member of the firm’s Chairman’s Board. Mr Camacho was appointed Secretary of Finance for the Philippinesin 2001, a position he held till November 2003. He had led the country’s economic team and supervised the fiscal and financial sectors. Prior to this, he was the Secretary of Energy for the Philippineswhere he was credited with the successful passage of the country’s power sector reform legislation. Mr Camacho obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from De La Salle University in 1975 and received his MBA with concentration in Finance from HarvardUniversityin 1979.

This event is opened only to SIIA Round Table and Corporate Members. Registration will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Should you require more information, please feel free to contact Mr Shahrin Selamat at Tel: 6734 9600 or Email shahrin@siiaonline.org.

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