Category : Press Release
Date : March 25, 2018
Agency : Department of Finance
Title : ADB annual meeting chance for PHL to tell its exciting growth narrative 
Article : The 51st Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to be held in Manila this year is an opportunity for the Philippines to tell potential investors about its exciting growth narrative anchored on tax reform and its unprecedented “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program under the Duterte administration, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. 
 
Dominguez, who chairs the ADB Board of Governors this year, said the annual conference on May 3-6, as well as the preliminary discussions leading up to this summer event, will also enable the finance ministers and central bank governors of the bank's 67 member-economies to learn from the best practices and experiences from each other in meeting the trends and challenges in today’s global economy. 
 
For the Philippines, in particular, the government can learn how other member-economies have pursued their infrastructure modernization programs and reformed their taxation systems, he said. 
 
“We will show them the thinking and the planning that is going into our Build, Build, Build Program, which is the cornerstone of this government’s economic program,” said Dominguez when asked in a briefing what experience the Philippines can share with other ADB members in fostering inclusive development. 
 
“We will also want to learn from the other countries as to how they are going about meeting their own challenges and issues. Certainly, we would like to see how their taxation systems are, how we can continue discussing, how we can continue integrating our customs operations, particularly among the South East Asian countries,” he added. 
 
Dominguez said that as a development partner, the ADB can likewise share the best practices it has thus far encountered and learned as well as the failures that should be avoided in the various countries where it has implemented projects for the past five decades.
 
He pointed out, for instance, that in Yokohama, Japan during the 50th ADB Annual Meeting, he was able to request from the finance minister of Pakistan to host a team from the Philippines to study the implementation of Pakistan’s successful infrastructure program. 
 
On the sidelines of the same meeting, Dominguez said he was also able to confer with the Indonesian finance minister to discuss that country’s tax amnesty program, which led to a Philippine team visiting Jakarta to further study firsthand Indonesia’s tax administration program. 
 
“This is really a good opportunity for an exchange of ideas and to deepen the relationships among the different countries,” Dominguez said. 
 
Dominguez earlier said he expects the economy to expand faster this year now that the Duterte administration’s programs to modernize public infrastructure and sustain the growth momentum have started falling into place.

The additional revenue take from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) plus new money from Official Development Assistance (ODA) deals, the successful float of $2 billion-worth of 10-year US dollar-denominated bonds and the recent three-year renminbi-denominated Panda bonds, would ensure a steady revenue flow for the government’s aggressive spending on public infrastructure, which, in turn, would spell greater economic activity, he said. 
 
Moreover, he said, sizable personal income tax (PIT) cuts under the TRAIN law would boost consumer spending and help spur greater economic activity.
 
The Philippines’ 6.7 percent full-year GDP growth in 2017 remains one of the fastest in the region, after China's 6.9 percent and Vietnam's 6.8 percent. 
 
Some 3,000 delegates are expected to troop to Manila for the 51st ADB Annual Meeting, among them the finance ministers and central bank governors of the ADB member-countries, bankers, representatives from the private sector, civil society, academe, multilateral institutions and the media. 
 
Among the issues to be discussed during the 51st meeting are globalization, jobs in Asia, financial technology, private sector mobilization in terms of funding infrastructure, building resilience to climate change, expanding opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and tapping technology to maximize the skills of aging populations and utilizing it as an effective tool to make development inclusive.  
 
Influential thinkers in the fields of international economics, history and digital technology are also set to speak on global economic trends that will shape the world’s future during a forum to be hosted by the Philippines on May 4 in a runup to the 51st Annual Meeting. 
 
Historian Peter Frankopan and economist Paola Subacchi will be among the key speakers at the May 4 forum, which will also include as panelists Dr. Naoyuki Yoshino, dean of the ADB Institute.