Like walking on a treadmill: JAZA, EKR say 5-6% economic growth won’t cut it
The Philippine economy has been rising between five and six percent to make it one of the fastest growing in Asia but for bilyonaryos Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Enrique K. Razon, this pace is not enough.
During the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017, Zobel and Razon were not impressed by the largely consumer-led economic growth as capital investments and per capita income growth have remained sluggish.
“At five to six percent, it’s almost as if we’re walking on a treadmill. We’ll be growing but standing still. In 10 to 20 years, we’ll still be in a situation where we’re growing but standing still. We need to kick up that growth to seven, nine, 10 percent to lead full change to the population at large,” said Zobel, CEO of Ayala Corp.
Zobel noted that the Philippines would need massive public infrastructure investments to sustain and accelerate economic growth to ensure that more people benefit from the economic gains.
Razon said there was a risk of the Philippines choking on its growth if the government continued to drag its foot on building new airports, trans, bridges and roads.
“You need to increase your capacity if you want to grow. Sooner or later it’s gonna be strangled if you’re not increasing capacity. The trickle down sustainability is really, that’s what it’s about, having the capacity to accommodate all the economic activity,” said Razon, CEO of International Container Terminal Services Inc.
“People like us, we trickle down to the next level. The next level’s gotta trickle down to the next. It’s not just all business trickling down to everybody. It involves government,” he added.
Razon expressed his frustration over the government’s failure to get things done.
“I just want to see one big thing built first or a couple of things before we try to solve everything,” he said.
“To be blunt about it, I’m not concerned about what other countries are doing for themselves. To be blunt about it, I’m not really concerned by what the other countries are doing for themselves. I’m more concerned about the Philippines since we have a lot to do, and a lot of catching up to do. My hope is that this administration is able to change the culture of how things get done in this country,” he added.