Chamber: Achieving inclusive growth demands productivity-A A +A
Sunday, September 2, 2012
THE Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. (OroChamber) said productivity is the key to achieve inclusive growth in every locality.
Ma. Teresa Alegrio, OroChamber president, said individual businesses in Cagayan de Oro must look at how to improve their productivity as economic growth depends on how fast the labor force can produce certain products.
"Maybe, we should identify what product available that can sustain the productivity. But there are some in the industrial level that some enterprise cannot sustain. So, we need to advocate this to the government on what recourse that is needed," she told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro during an economic forum Thursday.
Citing Taiwan and China's garments industry, she said workers there can finish 10 dresses in an eight-hour work.
"I think in Taiwan and in China, they can make thread which are most quality one for eight hours, 10 dresses. (But) in the Philippines, perhaps three dresses (only) because we have so many breaks -- coffee breaks, snacks, breakfast, lunch -- that's why they would ask: 'Why are we always eating.' We have short productivity. They're more competitive maybe because of the technology, but (more appropriately) their mind set," she said.
The forum, themed "Taking The Right Road to Inclusive Growth," aimed at looking at the real situation of the economy in the country and what could be an alternative route for inclusive growth, said Alegrio.
Per capita income not GDP
Speaking before crowd of chamber members, Norio Usui, Asian country economic specialist for the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said: "Real growth should be translated into per capita income (of every Filipino worker) not only because of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product)."
Usui, a successful writer, was the resource speaker during the forum who said that there is an economic growth in the Philippines, yet percentage of poverty incidence is high which could be impossible to achieve inclusive growth.
"It's ironic that they said the Philippines is economically growing yet the poverty incidence is high. It supposedly works hand-in-hand. They said high growth but less investment and less people employed. It's the situation of the Philippines today. So, how do we go to that inclusive growth that it's not GDP but the daily capita income of every Filipino worker? It's like there is growth with equity," Alegrio said.
Usui cited Malaysia as economically growing country with almost zero percentage of poverty incidences.
"That's true. That's true. We hope we can more or less have the same kind of development," Alegrio reacted when asked if she believes with Usui's claim.
Per capita income is a measure of the amount of money that is being earned per person in a certain area. Income per capita can apply to the average per-person income for a city, region or country and is used as a means of evaluating the living conditions and quality of life in different areas. It can be calculated for a country by dividing the country's national income by its population.
Improve business climate
Alegrio also appealed to the government to improve the business climate in the locality by improving the business processes on permitting so more people would open up business.
"Many are looking for jobs. The many graduates we have most of them have the difficulty to land a job. So, they need to have an alternative. The best option is for them to put up an enterprise. But they don't know how to go about it because of the stumbling blocks," she said.
"It's a challenge to us because before we always say that we are competitive in Northern Mindanao because we have cheaper power and we have enough labor compared to other areas in the country. But it's not the gauge anymore, it's not anymore a guarantee because why most of them (investors) go to Subic with very high cost of power," she added.
The ADB shared Cagayan de Oro's premier business group's views, saying the private sector and the government should have a regular dialogue especially on issues of speedy processing of business permits, infrastructure needs, and efficient power, among others.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 03, 2012.