Business & Economy

ECCP calls for greater innovation in infra sector

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The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines has called for more innovation in infrastructure development, for the Philippines to keep up with the needs of its growing population and respond to rapid urbanization and growing challenges related to climate change.

ECCP president Guenter Taus said inadequate infrastructure has been dragging down Philippine competitiveness, thus the need for innovative solutions to ensure that infrastructure development will keep pace with the country’s rapid economic growth.

“ECCP is promoting innovation in infrastructure so that the country can achieve breakthroughs that will help it leapfrog infrastructure development to higher levels of progress and at a faster pace of implementation. Innovation is the solution to bring the country’s infrastructure to a level at par and eventually developing in pace with the country’s infrastructure requirements,” Taus said in his speech at the Innovation in Infrastructure Congress Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Taus cited the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), which assessed the countries’ competitiveness using 12 pillar indicators, including macroeconomic environment and financial market development.

Based on the index, Taus said the Philippines recorded a “remarkable” performance over the last five years, jumping 33 rank points from 85th in the 2010-11 report to 52nd in the 2014-2015 report.

“This is remarkable indeed and because of this, the Philippines has landed high on the list of top business destinations in Asia in recent years. However, looking closely at the 12 pillar indicators of GCI for the Philippines, while the country’s ranking has improved in most of the 12 indicators, its ranking as far as competitiveness in terms of infrastructure has remained poor and the report noted in particular the poor airport and seaport infrastructure. As far as infrastructure is concerned, the Philippines ranked 91st of 144 countries, the worst rank received by the Philippines given the 12 pillar indicators,” Taus said.

“This is not to say that there have been no improvements in infrastructure development over the last five years. It just indicates that infrastructure continues to lag behind and more needs to be done fast,” he added.

The ECCP official cited the WEF report in stressing that “extensive and efficient infrastructure is critical for ensuring the effective functioning of the economy, as it is an important factor in determining the location of economic activity and the kinds of activities or sectors that can develop within a country.”

He cited that effective modes of transport - including quality roads, railroads, ports, and air transport - enable entrepreneurs to get their goods and services to the market in a secure and timely manner and facilitate the movement of workers to the most suitable jobs.

Economies also depend on electricity supplies that are free from interruptions and shortages so that businesses and factories can work unimpeded, while a solid and extensive telecommunications network allows for a rapid and free flow of information.

This then increases overall economic efficiency by helping ensure that businesses can communicate and decisions are made by economic actors taking into account all available relevant information, Taus added.

“There is plenty of room for improvement and a multitude of innovative solutions are available to make positive changes happen… ECCP together with its partner companies and organizations will work with the government in creating a policy and regulatory environment, particularly with regard to standards as well as procurement specifications, which will allow innovation to be promoted, adopted and mainstreamed in the process of building up the country’s future infrastructure,” Taus said.

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