Employers on Wednesday, (June 30) said government must mobilize private sector participation in the massive infrastructure projects in light of limited fiscal space due to slower growth.

This formed part of the 42nd National Conference of Employers (NCE) Resolutions approved by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) at the closing of the virtual conference on Wednesday.

The 42NCE with the theme “Reform. Rebound, Recover” has emphasized the need for tripartite cooperation as they committed to create 1 million jobs. Employers also cited the Philippine Statistics Authority report placing the country’s unemployment rate in April 2021 at 8.7 percent which translates to about 4.14 million jobless Filipinos. Likewise, the gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021, up from a 2020 average contraction of 9.6 percent.

In addition, the NCE said government should also allow greater foreign participation in the economy, in accordance with constitutional limitations and in the context of prevailing laws, in order to help improve hard and soft infrastructure, create more decent and high-value-adding jobs, and accelerate economic growth.

On their part, the employers vowed to continue respecting workers’ rights and comply with existing labor policies and health standards even as they also urged government to take decisive action and formulate effective national policies to strike a balance between lives and livelihood.

Employers also approved to continue respecting the workers rights and compliance to existing labor policies and standards.

They also approved a resolution to ensure regular social dialogues and constructive engagement with workers and government, including the formal representation in the National Economic Recovery Strategy (NERS) Task Force, to push for reforms in the business environment, rebound from economic recession, and recover from the ill effects of the pandemic as one Filipino nation.

Employers also urged that government should take decisive action and formulate effective national policies that would strike a balance between prioritizing lives and promoting livelihood.

This can be done by addressing vaccine hesitancy as many Filipinos either did not return for their second vaccine jabs or do not want to be vaccinated at all.

Government must also ensure sufficient and efficient ramping up of vaccines, including the prioritization of economic front-liners in the vaccination program.

Employers also want government to focus on job creation instead of considering additional paid holidays and/or leaves that will hurt productivity and increase the cost of doing business; and observe genuine representation of employers and workers in tripartite bodies.

Since micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) account for 99 percent of business in the country, the NCE urged government to provide support to MSMEs, including but not limited to putting in place an environment that will help them sustain their operations through subsidies or soft loans, with minimal bureaucratic requirements; facilitate the integration of the informal sector into the mainstream economy; and promote the adoption of digital technology and solutions to ensure expeditious transitioning to new business models.

To address industry needs, government must also implement reskilling and upskilling of job seekers, especially workers displaced by the pandemic, so that they may benefit from the existing and emerging employment opportunities arising from new digital business models.

Exasperated by conflicted policies, employers asked for a coordinated efforts of national and local government authorities to ensure seamless, synchronized, timely and efficient implementation of social programs, such as cash transfers, vaccination, and other recovery packages.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/07/01/employers-urge-govt-to-mobilize-private-sector-in-infra-projects/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=employers-urge-govt-to-mobilize-private-sector-in-infra-projects)