Mindanao business leaders identify 9 sectors needing improvement in region

Published by rudy Date posted on August 15, 2013

Business leaders identified nine major sectors in Mindanao that require attention if the region’s competitiveness is to improve ahead of the anticipated Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration in 2015, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said in a statement Thursday.

John Gaisano, Jr., MinDa’s 22nd Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) conference director, said the nine-point policy agenda was crafted from a series of consultations with nearly 250 Mindanao traders and organization leaders who sought for immediate and long-term solutions to the island-region’s economic issues and concerns.

These key sectors are: agriculture, energy, information and technology, mining, tourism, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), logistics and infrastructure, skills development, and natural resource management.

“Through this policy agenda, we intend to work closely with key government agencies in attaining a seamless Mindanao economy as the country enters into free trade agreements with its fellow ASEAN member-nations,” he said, noting that the policy agenda was endorsed to President Benigno Aquino during the closing ceremonies of the 22nd MinBizCon.

Gaisano said there is a need to make power supply available and affordable and to improve financing among micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and agricultural smallholders in Mindanao to promote home-grown businesses and countryside development

Meanwhile, Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCCII) president Daniel Lim said the island-region also needs to enhance its infrastructure and logistics support in key production areas to develop the region’s intra-connectivity and expand its national and international market reach.

At the MinBizCon opening ceremonies, MinDa said President Aquino announced that the Department of Public Works and Highways has so far allocated P61.54 billion for road, bridge, and other infrastructure projects in Mindanao for 2011 to 2014 and is expected to increase with the proposal of P34.29 billion for the 2014 budget.

The export gateways and growth corridors, which include the Southern Mindanao Economic Cluster (Tagum-Davao, GenSan Gateway); Northern Mindanao Economic Cluster (CDO-Iligan Gateway); and the Western Mindanao Economic Cluster (Zamboanga Peninsula Gateway), intend to achieve physical integration among key economic clusters in Mindanao in its bid to become self-reliant and internally dependable.

Other points raised in the policy agenda include the amendments in the Cabotage law to reduce transport cost of products coming from Mindanao; the improvement of tourism infrastructure; the addressing of jobs and skills mismatch; the amendment of the tariff and customs code of the Philippines; and putting in place the policy framework for responsible and sustainable mining practices in Mindanao. — DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA News, BM, GMA News

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