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Last January 30, the Metrobank Group organized the Philippine Investment Summit 2013 at the Makati Shangri-la, where they invited no less than the prominent economist Nouriel Roubini who used to be a senior consultant at the White House and the International Monetary Fund.
Roubini was the one who accurately predicted the US economic crisis back in 2006. Nobody believed Roubini at that time. In fact, he even earned nicknames such as â€œDr. Doomâ€ for his stern and pessimistic views about the US economy. But today he is considered as one of the worldâ€™s top 100 global thinkers for â€œseeing what no one has been able to seeâ€.
After the crises that happened, Roubini became one of the worldâ€™s noted economists, and his words are now valued like gold. This is the reason why it is very exciting to find out what is he going to say about our countryâ€™s progress. I could say that everyone felt elated, as he had nothing but good words about the Philippine economy. While our US and European counterparts are recovering from the crisis that hit them in an â€œanemicâ€ manner, Roubini looked at the Philippines as a country that showed no signs of slowing down. He praised the sound economic policies that P-Noy and his economic team had been making which greatly contributed to our success story.
Roubini then mentioned several factors that also added to our growth. One of our most valuable assets that he mentioned is human capital. Being a nation of 100 million people, most of our population members are young, educated, and can speak English. Roubini said that we could maximize this advantage further if our country would invest more in education and skills training to equip the people in the labor force. Government has to continue to support efforts that would enhance the skills and knowhow of the growing Filipino manpower base. Aside from trainings in Go Negosyo, we see more training modules given by TESDA, TRC, and DTIâ€™s Philippine Trade and Training Center to develop our peopleâ€™s skills. Relatively, we have our eight million-strong OFWs whose steady flow of remittances became a â€œsignificant positiveâ€ for us despite the financial crisis. He then shifted the focus to our pesoâ€™s increasing strength. Roubini stated that currency strength is something fundamental with growth, but some degree of intervention can be done to prevent the excessive volatility of our exchange rate.
But even if he was all praises about the improvements that the Philippines has achieved in the past couple of years, Roubini said that we still have a lot to work on. Private-public partnerships have to be done in order to invest in more infrastructure. This suggestion is very timely, as we are about to spend more than P3B to rehabilitate EDSA. The start of the rehab is scheduled in May. Disaster risk management also needs to be focused on. Most especially, Roubini cited corruption, the sanctity of contracts, and the rule of law, as the elements that usually worry foreign investors. But despite these, Roubini believes that the Philippines truly deserves a credit upgrade, which is something that we all have been looking forward to in the near future.
Investors and businessmen are surely thrilled by Roubiniâ€™s forecasts, but so much more still has to be done for the Philippines to gain a more sustainable growth path. Now that we have the nod of investors and noted economists about the actions that our government has taken, now is the time for all of us to work together and make these predictions reality. If the PNoy administration would continue the things that they are doing, if our negosyantes would expand their businesses and employ more people in the process, and if Filipinos would vote for politicians who will truly serve the interests of their constituents, then we will really reach our ultimate goal.
Pilipinas, Now is Our Time!
Given these good forecasts, Go Negosyo is more than bullish to continue the cause of changing the culture of Filipinos towards being enterprising and success-driven, and this is the true way out of poverty. After the big success of our Technopreneurship Summit, we will mount our fifth Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit on March 1 at the World Trade Center Manila. This year will be extra special because we were able to get the nod of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago as our keynote speaker. We have invited our women senatoriables to a forum for them to show what are their platforms for women and women entrepreneurs. There will also be an exhibit to showcase different business models that any aspiring entrepreneur can learn from. I will write about the details of this summit further in my next columns.
Meanwhile on March 5, we will launch our 8th book, Go Negosyoâ€™s 50 Inspiring Stories of Agri-entrepreneurs. We are recognizing the top stories of entrepreneurs who invested in the agriculture sector and have succeeded from it. Some of the names that we featured are Justin Uy of Profood International, Henry Lim Bon Liong of SL Agritech, Rosalind Wee of Marine Resources Development Corporation, Michael Escaler of All Asian Countertrade, Pedro Roxas of Roxas Holdings, and Senen Bacani of La Frutera. We hope that through this book, we can inspire more Filipinos, especially the young ones, that there is success in agribusiness.
Also, our TV show, SME, GO!: Powered by Go Negosyo and GMA News TV will have a new face. Starting this Saturday, February 9, Betong Sumaya Jr. will be our new host, replacing Bam Aquino who will run for senator this coming election. He is sure to bring inspiration to a whole new level with his interesting treatment in delivering our features on entrepreneurs and their path to success. Our TV show airs every Saturday and Sunday, 8:30-9:00 a.m. on GMA News TV channel 11, with replays every Tuesday, 8-9 p.m. in PTV 4.