TRADE SECRETARY Ramon M. Lopez is calling for more direct support for the manufacturing industry to help them lower operational costs and recover from the slowdown caused by the pandemic.
“As they want to go into digital transformation, bigyan din natin ng support doon. Other countries are doing it. We can encourage digital transformation, improvement in their capital acquisition,” he said in a television interview on Friday.
“Those that are enjoying incentives are able to do it already…pero in other countries, hindi lang tax and duty-free, they might even help you buy the equipment.”
He added there could also be support in terms of power rates to lower operating costs.
“Other countries are giving a lot more stimulus. We’re giving a lot of stimulus already… but if you look at the support of other countries, talagang mas malalaki,” he said.
“In the meantime, our manufacturing (companies) are not getting that.”
Mr. Lopez is also backing the government infrastructure program and reforms to lower corporate income tax to boost foreign investment into manufacturing.
Factory activity declined for the fifth straight month in July after manufacturing firms reported weaker production during the lockdown. The IHS Markit Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 48.4 last month, indicating declining operations.
The Department of Trade and Industry last month backed the modernization of the manufacturing sector as key to domestic economic revival. Mr. Lopez said this would help the country supply goods for the local market and reduce import dependence.
In contrast with manufacturing, Mr. Lopez found the agriculture industry continued to perform well as it continued to operate during the stricter lockdown. — J.P. Ibañez