Investors worry over effects of market conditions on RP privatization plan

Published by rudy Date posted on January 22, 2009

Japanese investors raised concerns over the effect of market conditions on the government’s P20-billion privatization plan this year but officials said careful timing would enable finance officials to raise the target revenue.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said the economic mission now in Japan made a successful presentation before Japanese investors, creditors and top government officials.

“The Philippine team’s country presentation was well received,” Tetangco said.

Tetangco is heading the economic mission that arrived in Tokyo, Japan on Monday to meet with Japanese investors, creditors and funding agencies and discuss the performance of the Philippine economy last year as well as its prospects this year.

Tetangco was joined by Finance Secretary Margarito B. Teves, Economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto along with Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila.

According to Tetangco, the questions raised during the open forum that followed centered on the sources of resilience of the Philippines as the global economy slows this year.

“We reiterated the buffers we have built through important economic, fiscal and financial reforms” Tetangco said. “We also pointed out the buoyancy of domestic demand, decelerating inflation, stable banking system, healthy reserves and remittance flows that are expected to hold up.”

Credit rating agencies have been concerned that the Arroyo government’s fiscal spending program this year might not be enough to mitigate the impact of the global slowdown but Tetangco said this subject did not come up in Tokyo.

What did come up, however, were concerns over the impact of market conditions that could derail the government’s

privatization plan this year where the Department of Finance estimated to raise around P40 billion to support the budget.

“Secretary Teves explained that it would boil down to a matter of timing only,” Tetangco said.

For 2009, the Arroyo administration had raised its programmed privatization revenues after the sale of Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) was postponed.

Officials said they expect to generate P20 billion from non-tax revenues, higher than the earlier program of only P15 billion, lining up the PNOC-EC and the 120-hectare Taguig City property of Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) for disposal.

The government also planned to lease out its property in Fujimi Cho, Chiyoda Ku, in Tokyo after plans were delayed due to poor market conditions and procedural concerns over the lease of the 4,360-square meter property.

Of the three state assets, finance officials said they expect to raise P10 billion from the sale of FTI alone although this was lower than previous projection.–Mary Ann Reyes, Philippine Star

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