Amendment to PPP rules and regulations pushed

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno (twitter photo)

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said that the government is planning to amend the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law to improve the investment climate and attract more private investors to undertake Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) for the Marcos administration’s infrastructure program.

“We are planning to, in fact, amend some of the provisions in the implementing rules and regulations [of] the Public-Private Partnership to really attract the private sector to participate in our Build, Build, Build program,” said Secretary Diokno on Wednesday (August 10) in an interview over a public affairs program.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) that infrastructure development will remain a top priority of his administration to drive employment, agriculture, tourism, and overall economic growth.

The Marcos administration plans to interconnect the archipelago and sustain infrastructure investments at 5 to 6 percent of GDP annually until 2028.

Infrastructure development will focus on mass transit, railway systems, and more airports and seaports.

Secretary Diokno said that the Duterte administration had turned over to the Marcos administration several big ticket and shovel-ready projects.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) listed on its website the priority projects under PPP, which include several expressways across the country.

Secretary Diokno banks on the rapid expansion of the economy to generate higher tax revenues that will be used to finance infrastructure development.

He said that better tax administration through digitalization in both the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) can substantially increase government revenues.

He added that the plan to rightsize the bureaucracy can lead to more efficient government operations and better delivery of public services.

Secretary Diokno cited the approval of the amendments to the almost century-old Public Service Act (PSA) as a complementary reform that would encourage investors to come in and implement some of the projects under PPP.

“Now, foreign investors can participate in key areas – telecommunication, toll roads, shipping, airports – and they can own them 100 percent. I think with that combination – with the PPP projects and that new environment – I think we will be attracting a lot of foreign direct investments into the country,” Secretary Diokno said.