Rural investments pushed to drive balanced local development

RURAL investments are essential for a balanced local development, according to the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI).

Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of MBCCI, said Tuesday, December 19, that almost all investments, especially of private companies, are located in urban centers resulting to less jobs and labor in the rural areas.

Carbon said there are many potential areas in rural locations since most of the physical resources in these places have remained underdeveloped.

“Development investments of the government should be biased towards rural or agricultural areas. Public investments should make the rural areas prone, not resistant, to development to entice the private sector to follow the footprints of the government,” he added.

The MBCCI’s push for more rural investments will be underscored during the business group’s presentation of its year-end report at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City today.

To bring in investments in rural areas, the business leader pointed out that the government should initiate first the development, mainly on infrastructures, including construction and maintenance of roads, irrigation, rice mills, corn mills, and other postharvest facilities, among others.

“It is like investors want to bring in ships but the area does not have port facilities,” Carbon said. “This is a call for the government to allow the private sector to follow its footprints.”

According to the MBCCI, for the Western Visayas’ economy to be equitable, the agriculture, fishery, forestry and industry sectors must create wealth in a sustainable manner.

Based on the group’s projection of gross domestic product (GDP) in Region 6, the service sector has the biggest growth rate of 58 percent for 2016, amounting to P181 billion.

The service sector includes real estate, renting, retail, public administration, banks, lending, insurance, telecom, transport, trading and tourism, and business process outsourcing (BPO).

Other sectors such as agriculture, fishery and forestry, and industry are projected to grow at only 20 and 22 percent, respectively.

The industry sector covers mining, quarrying, manufacturing or factory, construction, electricity and water subsectors.

Carbon said their projection is based on the “initial data” gathered and still subject for confirmation with the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

Using the 2014 and 2015 projection, MBBCI said the service sector seems to grow fastest. The agriculture sector is seemingly not growing, most probably deteriorating and not contributing, at 10 percent both for two consecutive years.

For the industry sector, Carbon said only the construction and electricity subsectors are contributing heavily to the GDP growth of the region given that a good number of power plants operating in Western Visayas.

“When construction stops, the industry sector will also slowdown since centrals are under the agriculture sector,” Carbon said, stressing that “in short, for the region’s economy to be equitable, all sectors should be benefited.”

Rural areas should also grow through investments so that the people can benefit from the economic growth, the business leader added.
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