A RENEWED call to strengthen the manufacturing industry rang through the business community as the tourism sector continues to struggle amid the Covid-19 global outbreak.
Former president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Consul Antonio Chiu said the manufacturing sector should be given special attention because it can contribute to the country’s stable growth rate.
“If we cannot produce goods in the Philippines competitively against other countries, it would be difficult for the country to achieve a stable growth rate. Tourism and information and technology can go up and down,” Chiu said.
Last year, Chiu said tourism was one of the sectors enjoying a high rate in the industry but with the sudden Covid-19 global outbreak, which originated in the city of Wuhan in China, the government is seeing a negative effect on tourism arrivals and receipts.
“It’s high time we review our priorities,” Chiu said.
The manufacturing sub-sector of Central Visayas grew 8.3 percent in 2018 from 5.5 percent in 2017. Construction, on the other hand, grew 14.2 percent from a decline of 1.1 percent in 2017.
“We are happy that these industries grew the fastest...as we all know, these sub-sectors are labor-intensive. They are the employers of skilled, and semi-skilled, and even unskilled workers,” said National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) 7 Director Efren Carreon, in past interview.
Ernesto Pernia, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Director-General of Neda, noted that the manufacturing sector picked up significantly in 2017 and 2018 but it went down in 2019.
“This is partly because our exports have also weakened or softened in terms of the demand from our partner foreign countries. Many of the manufactured goods we produced tend to be for exports,” he said, adding that the Philippines is way behind its Asian neighbors in developing the manufacturing sector.
Pernia also attributed the low performance of exports to the trade war between the United States and China. But he said that the trade dispute also brought opportunities for the country and the industry stakeholders to explore.
“The possibility of relocating manufacturing operations of multinational corporations (MNCs) due to trade disputes has opened up opportunities. We must now identify specific products for which the country could be an alternative manufacturing base, bearing in mind the comparative advantage for domestic players,” Pernia said.
“The entry of these MNCs and international players could serve as a way to better integrate our domestic industries into the global value chain and bolster our manufacturing growth in the long run,” he added. (JOB with KOC)