Manufacturers’ wish list headed to Malacañang

BusinessWorld | Posted on November 30, 2016

THE Trade department said it will submit a set of recommendations to Malacañang setting the policy direction for the manufacturing industry, based on findings from the recently concluded Manufacturing Summit 2016.

Rafaelita M. Aldaba, assistant secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said yesterday that the recommendations generated by the Summit number 35 in seven sections: competitive and innovative industries; labor, human resources development and skills training; physical infrastructure; ease of doing business, development of small- and medium-sized enterprises and inclusive business; incentives and other government support; international trade policy; and other free trade agreements.

Among others concerns, industry stakeholders want the Trade department to provide incentives for research and development, an inclusive financing scheme for SMEs, as well as the removal of certain restrictions on nationality and export orientation in the grant of incentives.

Some recommendations involved “crosscutting” as it concerned other line departments as well, connected by common issues, such as those involving labor. The Summit participants said they want laws that are “supportive of management flexibility in manufacturing processes and needs,” an apparent reference to the need to maintain some forms of contractualization.

“We need other agencies to help out too,” Ms. Aldaba said, adding that the department targets concrete action arising from the recommendations next year.

“We will continue our cooperation with other government agencies because some of these here do not fall under the mandate of DTI,” she said.

Also yesterday, the Trade department signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Under the agreement, both agencies will draft a convergence plan to connect infrastructure projects deemed critical to industry, such as roads, with priority economic and manufacturing zones.

The details of the program, such as the slice of the DPWH budget to be set aside for it, are yet to be determined. — Roy Stephen C. Canivel