The speakers discussed the opportunities available for Singapore-based companies in the region, specifically in the Philippines, in light of the recently released Singapore Budget.
2018 ended on a strong note for the Philippines, with Q4 2018’s average Purchasing Manager’s Index posting the strongest quarterly result of the year.
By 2020, only 5 per cent of the Philippines labor force would be over 65 years of age, making the Philippines’ population one of the youngest in Asia. With a 96 per cent literacy rate, the vast bulk of the population has a high level of English proficiency.
With the implementation of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), Corporate Income Tax would be gradually reduced from 30 per cent to 25 per cent. In 2020, the digital population is expected to reach over 100 million and the electronics industry is expected to be worth USD250 million.
In the next 5 years, USD158 billion is expected to be invested as part of the “Build, Build, Build” program and the Philippines’ effort to modernize infrastructure via 75 flagship programs.
Tourism is a key industry, contributing 10 per cent to the Philippines’ GDP while supporting 9 million jobs. The Philippines is planning to liberalize its visa policies to attract more tourists.
The Philippines is also implementing tax reform. A branch of a foreign owned company is taxable only on the income sourced in the Philippines. The proposed tax reform would reduce the corporate income tax from 30 per cent to 25 percent.
For the 7th year in a row, the Philippines’ economy has persistently grown more than 6 per cent a year. With the implementation of correct strategies, investment in the Philippines could well be profitable for Singapore-based companies.