More investments in research and development needed to boost growth

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has underscored to need to invest more in research and development (R&D) to boost the competitiveness of Philippine industries particularly in manufacturing to achieve inclusive growth. 

Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan cited a report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) indicating that technological readiness, business sophistication and innovation are among the pillars of competitiveness.

Balisacan told a recent annual scientific meeting of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) that many neighbouring countries have recognized the value of science and technology in long-term growth and economic development.

“These countries made significant investments in R&D. Philippine investment in R&D has stayed at a level of around 0.11 to 0.14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) which is among the lowest in Asia,” said Balisacan.

The Philippines needs to invest at least P220 billion in science and technology which translates to two percent of the country’s GDP that reaches at P11 trillion to P12 trillion at current prices.

Developing countries are investing close to two percent of their GDP for science. Apart from promoting rapid growth, Balisacan stressed that scientific and technological innovations can also promote inclusiveness.

He said the industry sector has great potential to boost inclusive growth. Such growth creates enough jobs and reduces poverty for the majority of Filipinos.  

Industry led the pace of the country’s economic expansion, growing at 10.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013, with manufacturing, the sector’s biggest component. GDP grew by 7.8 percent during the period.

The main contributors to the strong growth were manufactures of food, household appliances, communication equipment and apparatus, chemical products, basic metals, machinery and other equipment, and transport equipment