Home Asean News FAR-REACHING TAX AND SOCIAL SERVICE REFORMS TAKE CENTRE STAGE IN 2019 REPORT...

FAR-REACHING TAX AND SOCIAL SERVICE REFORMS TAKE CENTRE STAGE IN 2019 REPORT ON THE PHILIPPINES

A new report by the global research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) looks in detail at the Philippines’ efforts to implement extensive tax and social service reforms while ramping up public expenditure on infrastructure.

A push to ensure that econom-ic growth is inclusive has sharpened the focus on social services, with the rollout of the Universal Health Care Bill analysed. The report also looks at the prog-ress of the flagship Build, Build, Build infrastructure programme midway through the Presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, as a new airport, road, bridge and railway network projects break ground in an effort to reduce regional disparities, boost growth and improve economic productivity. In particular, it examines the effectiveness of financing methods for public infrastructure projects and the growing role of unsolicited proposals from the private sector.

With the next package of tax reforms designed to boost small and medium sized enterprises, OBG’s report provides coverage of the Philippines’ maturing manufacturing industry, which is already beginning to benefit from infrastructure development but faces challenges from slowing global demand. It also considers the potential opportunities arising from the US-China trade dispute, notably in terms of production relocation and import replacement.

Long a global leader in business process outsourcing, the Philippines is now working to enhance the third-party digital services it offers. OBG provides an in-depth analysis of the national drive to prioritise high-er-value outsourcing services and the creative industries. In addition, it examines the positive impact that improvements to internet speed, coverage and competitiveness should have across the industry in light of the disruption caused by the licensing of a third telecoms provider.

The Philippines 2019 puts the country’s under-performing ag-riculture sector under the microscope, with a particular focus on how the liberalisation of rice imports has impacted inflation, food security and the performance of local farmers. It also includes an analysis of the government’s plans to boost visitor numbers by developing its tourism offering and using the 2019 South-East Asian Games to raise the country’s profile, while analysing the impact of the temporary closure of Boracay on the tourism industry and the wider economy.

The Group’s Regional Editor for Asia Patrick Cooke added that mid-term elections could give the administration leverage to build on its reform programme.

The Philippines 2019 has been produced with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Makati Business Club and the Management Association of the Philippines. Contributions have also been made by the Philippine Stock Exchange, Reyes Tacan-dong & Co, and V&A Law. It is available online and in print.