Balisacan pushes for earlier passage of Maharlika Investment Fund bill
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Baliscan on Monday pushed for the quick passage of a bill seeking to create the Maharlika Investment Fund.
The House had passed a bill creating the fund before Congress went on recess for the Christmas holidays. It resumes sessions next month, with the Senate set to deliberate on the bill.
In a press briefing, Balisacan said he sees the sovereign wealth fund as another “vehicle” for sources of funds and investment.
“We see the Maharlika as another vehicle for sources of funds and investment, just like PPP (public-private partnership) is one vehicle, ODA (official development assistance) is one vehicle, GAA (General Appropriations Act) is another. The more vehicles we have, the better and that will ensure that we can ramp up not only the infrastructure but even the other priorities of the government, development priorities,” Balisacan said.
“The earlier (the passage), the better. Because as I said, what it does is it complements, it enhances the available vehicles that we already have,” he added.
The House's final version of the bill includes amendments such as replacing the President with the Finance Secretary as chairman of the board of directors, excluding the state pension funds as contributors, and a penal provision that fines and sentences officials who misuse the sovereign wealth fund.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier said that the Maharlika Investment Fund bill will not be given special treatment despite President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. certifying the measure as urgent.
Balisacan said the measure could help the country generate additional investment sources and invest more strategically.
“I think the way the bill is evolving, I think it’s going in the direction that aims to pull these different sources of funds over time so that you’ll have a more strategic way of investing those resources,” he said.
Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) President Ramon Monzon, in a statement, expressed support for the measure saying that it would create a “multiplier effect that would attract more fund-raising activities and portfolio investments”. Jaspearl Tan/DMS