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PH construction, IT-BPM industries see expansion amid pandemic

UPBEAT on the Philippines’s situation amid the pandemic, leaders from the construction and information technology and business process management (ITBPM) industries have shared their outlooks and the various projects and initiatives that will help fast-track the country’s economic recovery.

According to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, this nation remains one of the best investment destinations in the world despite the ensuing health crisis.

“The Philippines has risen from 6th rank prior to 2016, to 4th rank in 2016-2020 period among our fellow Asean [Association of South East Asian Nations] countries in terms of FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] levels. Our annual average level of FDI actually more than doubled from $3.5-billion in 2010-2015 to $8.7 billion in 2016-2020,” he said during an online forum organized recently by the DTI’s Expo 2020 Dubai Business Events Committee.

Department of Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Dr. Maria Catalina Cabral, on the other hand, said that the infrastructure and construction sector is among the greatest economic stimulus since it generates employment and income even in a short term.

“The construction industry can generate at least 4,000 employees for every $1 billion worth of spending because of the many industries attached to it,” she said.

Cabral also lauded other sectors of the government through collaboration—the tourism sector by creating bypasses leading to tourism destinations, the agriculture sector through the construction of farm-to-mill roads, and the Department of Education by providing facilities that benefit public schools nationwide.

“What we have learned from this Covid-19 pandemic is that countries have increasingly become interdependent,” added Philippine Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Hjayceelyn Quintana, who spoke on the workability of the Philippines with other countries now that the former is close to achieve herd immunity against the virus.

“The Philippines is ready to do business with the different regions. The Philippine economy has proven to be resilient amid the political and economic implications of the global health crisis,” she noted.

Bullish outlook

UNTIL the next decade, the construction industry has a promising growth outlook, per DCCD Engineering Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Engr. Michael Reyes.

He said that it could generate as much as P130 trillion worth of project value from 2020 to 2030 via expansion of investments, participation in the global market and a well-plotted construction road map for the stakeholders’ discussion.

Reyes added that working with foreign industry partners through an efficient outsourcing of Philippine talents and work force can also enhance its ties with other nations, especially in dealing with different construction projects overseas.

“As of 2018, there was just around P2.3 trillion construction value. Without the road map, we will just be attaining up to P4.3-trillion construction value by 2030,” he shared. “The Philippine construction industry is embarking on improving the work force of the construction industry. If I’m not mistaken, in 2016, we were at 3.9 percent of the work force and we are by 2020 7.1 [percent] and you can see a very big increase as far as highly skilled work force. The professionals increased a bit and unskilled decreased a bit. For us to achieve this construction industry road map, we need to really do a lot of capacity building and improve the talents and the technical know-how of our work force.”

Meanwhile, IT-BPM Executive Director Atty. Luis Salvador emphasized that despite the global recession due to the health crisis, the sector still managed to post a modest gross domestic product growth of 1.8 percent and a 1.4 percent or $23.7-billion increase in total revenues in 2020.

According to global research firm Everest study group, the country’s IT-BPM 2021 growth is projected at 7.1 percent and a 8-percent to 12-percent increase in revenues as being driven by positive enterprise sentiments, vaccine rollout, digital acceleration, pent-up demands, fiscal stimulus across multiple geographies, and the need for cost optimization.

He added that there had also been numerous driving factors that have contributed to the uptick in the sectors’ future growth which includes the emerging business process sub-industries such as insurances, business-process outsourcing (BPO), human resource (HR) outsourcing, customer experience management, and others.

“Deeper server penetration is also driving growth, we see opportunities in IT oriented and complex services such as cloud and data center services, finance and accounting and IT applications maintenance. There are also emerging business process subsegments such as insurance and health, BPOs, HR outsourcing, and customer experience management,” Salvador said. “The Philippines’s IT-BPM industry is constantly growing and proves to be an ideal investment destination for foreign companies.”

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