WE are conditioned to believe, simplistically, that the problem “We The People” have with government officials is their corrupt practices. In my opinion, the problem is that too many of these public servants, particularly those appointed members of government, are not fully qualified.
The fact is that there is a wide divide between the Private Sector and the Public Sector even though in many ways the responsibilities and functions are similar. Come up with an idea, craft a detailed proposal, and then figure out how to effectively implement the proposal to achieve a desired objective.
But while government and business appear to be two sides of the same coin, nothing could be farther from the truth.
For example, officials of companies face operating in an environment of “Corporate Politics.” Government officials face operating within the realm of “Electoral Politics.” Similar, but not the same. Both sectors have people that must monitor the proper use of funds. But there is a world of difference between the pressures of company executives having to answer to a Board of Directors and owners/shareholders and government executives far removed from the citizens and legislatures, which do act as watchdogs.
An incompetent corporate executive can be terminated or forced to resign quickly and quietly. When a cabinet member or head of a government agency leaves, it is front-page news and everyone gets to debate the wisdom of that decision.
The head of government may appear to have great powers over the government. However, that is nothing in comparison to the power of a Chair of the Board or a company president. Just ask Elon Musk. Who can challenge him at Twitter or SpaceX.
For these and other reasons, the transition from the private sector to government may not be successful, as the superior skills needed for a particular job at a corporation may not work for a government agency.
Back when vaccines were created and tested to actually prevent people from getting sick—2017—I met Secretary of Finance Benjamin E. Diokno at a forum held at BusinessMirror. Being serious and a bit intimidating (unusual for me), he did not strike me as someone I would be inclined to share conversation over a beer or bottle of wine. However, I was impressed with his comments and answers to questions. The man knew what he was talking about coupled with pragmatic honesty, both a rarity in government.
I wrongly assumed he had at least some if not extensive experience in private sector money handling.
Most of the discussion about the Maharlika Investment Fund has recently hit on corruption and making profits. Fair enough. But Secretary Diokno hinted last January, reiterated by Rep. Joey Salceda, the quiet “hidden agenda” in that the proposed MIF “may eventually” open up to foreign investors, including multilateral institutions, to make it more—and this is critical—“private sector-driven.”
The MIF will invest in commodities, government/corporate bonds, local and foreign equities, domestic commercial real estate and infrastructure projects, and local Joint Ventures and Co-Investments. The key is “local.” Further, Rep. Salceda: “After that, there will be an initial public offering, so it won’t be a GOCC anymore. It will be a listed company in the Philippine stock market.”
Foreign money does not need the MIF for them to invest in non-Filipino investment vehicles. But foreign money epitomizes “Greed is Good and Low Risk is Great.” So, we have a Philippine government fund proposed by a new and recently installed administration, initially seeded with public funds, that will invest in Philippine projects and companies, and that the fund will eventually be publicly traded on the PSE.
Here is my final take unless “they” screw up the implementation. I like it and I am on board.
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