PH gov’t too focused on traditional infra over ICT investments: expert

By Rizal Raoul Reyes

The Philippines has to give equal importance in enhancing its digital infrastructure to make its citizens more competitive in the digital age, according to a leading European management consultant.

Lundgreen Capital founding CEO Peter Lundgreen

Lundgreen Capital founding CEO Peter Lundgreen

“The current administration is too focused on the traditional infrastructure such as railroads and bridges. They should also concentrate in building the ICT and Internet infrastructure of the Philippines,” Lundgreen’s Capital founding CEO Peter Lundgreen told Newsbytes.PH in a recent interview in Makati City.

“I have observed that the ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program is too focused on classical infrastructure such as roads, buildings and ports. Instead, they should focus on constructing the digital infrastructure and the Internet,” Lundgreen added.

The Duterte administration plans to implement a $180-billion infrastructure campaign in a six-year period.

Although the mammoth projects included in the program will boost employment and the country’s gross domestic product, Lundgreen said the challenge of pursuing traditional infrastructure projects is the requirement to generate a positive return for the investors. “It needs to be profitable,” he said.

Although the government earlier said it wants to upgrade the Internet infrastructure in the country, it still pales in comparison to the resources allocated to the classical infrastructure.

He said pursuing classical infrastructure projects are quite acceptable to politicians because they can easily use them to promote to their constituents. Moreover, he said the politicians can easily tell the people these projects can help them move to various parts of the country.

“But the thing is that building a digital infrastructure is also transportation of services which has a higher value. Being a country of having a highly educated workforce, Filipinos can participate in the global economy if they have a better internet connection,” the Copenhagen, Denmark-based consultant explained.

“That means people in the Philippines can participate in the global workforce without moving to the large urban areas; That would be the biggest benefit of the digital infrastructure,” he added.

Lundgreen also pointed out the country needs to improve its investment climate to attract another player in telecommunications industry. He said investors would only move in when the business climate is conducive for growth and stability.

“Investors would only move in when the infrastructure is better. Either the international investor will finance the development of the infrastructure or the local partner-company can really have a say on the price of the services,” he said.

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