Infra key to competitiveness (Manila Standard Today)

The Philippine Exporters Confederation said the faster completion of infrastructure projects under the so-called public-private partnership scheme will cut costs and facilitate trade in the country.

“A lot of roads, a lot of ports and even communications will lower the cost of doing business. It will improve the general plight of exporters,” group president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said over the weekend.

Ortiz-Luis said the need for better infrastructure facilities was among the exporters’ wish list for the coming year.

The government rolled out eight infrastructure projects in 2012. It plans 16 more projects next year, including transportation facilities.

The National Economic and Development Authority added the implementation of the PPP projects would ease the volatility of the peso.

“… The pressure on the peso to appreciate should ease even more as much greater demand for dollars will match the inflow of remittances and export earnings,” Arsenio Balisacan, Neda director-general said in a statement earlier.

Aside from hoping for faster implementation of PPP projects, Ortiz-Luis said exporters were batting for a lower exchange rate to keep exports competitive.

“A lot of exporters would be comfortable at the level of P42.50,” he said.

Ortiz-Luis also said the country should repay loans in dollars and borrow locally to prevent the further appreciation of the peso.

Earlier, exporters projected an 11-percent growth next year, hoping that the rebound registered in the third quarter this year would be sustained in 2013.

Data from the National Statistics Office showed exports in the first 10 months hit $44.475 billion, up 7.1 percent year-on-year.

Ortiz-Luis said the double-digit growth projection would be led by the expected recovery of electronics and increasing contribution of the services exports in the country’s total shipments.

Ortiz-Luis expressed optimism electronics shipments would recover in the early part of 2013.

He said shipments of furniture and fixtures, metal products and agriculture products could boost next year’s exports growth.

original source: