Posts Tagged ‘public-private partnership’


Philippine Consulate General, New York

22 October 2014



Consul General Mario De Leon, Jr., PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao and Deputy Consul General Zaldy Patron, together with the officers of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of New York and the executives of EisnerAmper LLC, during the PPP Forum at the Philippine Center on 16 October.


NEW YORK – The Philippine Consulate General in New York recently organized a forum highlighting the various infrastructure projects in the Philippines that will be undertaken under the public-private partnership (PPP) program.

The forum, held on 16 October at the Philippine Center, featured Cosette Canilao, Executive Director of the Philippine PPP Center, as the main speaker. She talked about the PPP program and its objectives, legal framework, policies and bidding process.

Ms. Canilao gave a list of eight PPP projects in the Philippines that have already been awarded to various groups, two projects that are for implementation, and 47 projects that are still in the pipeline. Together, these projects have combined project cost of $20.822 billion.

Consul General Mario De Leon, Jr., PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao and Deputy Consul General Zaldy Patron, together with the officers of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of New York and the executives of EisnerAmper LLC, during the PPP Forum at the Philippine Center on 16 October. She gave more detailed presentation on the five PPP projects that are under procurement and the 15 projects that are still for roll-out.

She encouraged U.S. investors to consider participating in these projects, namely:

A. Under Procurement
• Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project (estimated project cost – $542.2M)
• Integrated Transport System Project – South Terminal ($100M)
• Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project ($2,728.9M)
• O&M of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2
• New Centennial Water Supply Source ($416M)

B. For Roll-Out
• Operation & Maintenance (O&M) of New Bohol (Panglao) Airport ($52M)
• O&M of Laguindingan Airport ($353.8M)
• O&M of Puerto Princesa Airport ($116.2M)
• O&M of Davao Airport ($901.6M)
• O&M of Bacolod Airport ($450.2M)
• O&M of Iloilo Airport ($675.6M)
• San Fernando Airport ($180M)
• Davao Sasa Port ($388M)
• Regional Prison Facilities ($1,115.1M)
• Motor Vehicle Inspection System ($428.9M)
• North-South Railway Project: South Line ($3,702.9M)
• Mass Transit System Loop ($3,000M)
• LRT Line-1 Dasmariñas Extension
• Batangas-Manila Natural Gas Pipeline
• Manila Bay-Pasig River-Laguna Lake Ferry System

About 40 executives and business people attended the forum, which was co-hosted by the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of New York and EisnerAmper LLC.

After the forum, Ms. Canilao had one-on-one meetings with five groups that are seriously considering to invest in the Philippines.

In his welcome remarks, Consul General Mario De Leon said, “This PPP forum is taking place during an exciting time for the Philippines, now an investment grade country and is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.” He underscored that the Philippines will need to build and upgrade its infrastructure to sustain its long-term economic growth.

Companies that are interested to participate in the PPP projects in the Philippines may get more information from the PPP Center’s website:

Investment community talks up Philippines’ economic prospects

InterAksyon, 22 October 2014
By Krista Angela M. Montealegre

MANILA – Addressing infrastructure bottlenecks will be key for the Philippines if it were to remain one of the brightest spots in Asia, according to participants of the Philippines Investment Conference.

Timothy Moe, chief Asia Pacific regional equity strategist for global investment research at Goldman Sachs, said the long-term growth prospects of the Philippines are among the best in Asia on a trend basis, citing the huge potential to improve productivity and investment accumulation because of the large population and young demographics.

“When you look at the five-year potential average growth rates of the economy, the Philippines is one of the top four in Asia outside China,” Moe told participants of the conference organized by the CFA Institute on Tuesday.

However, supply-side constraints will remain a problem for the Philippines and other Asian nations, which have underinvested in infrastructure in the past several decades. Reallizing this, the government recently revived its infrastructure push to include roadshows outside the country to draw in investors.

“If there is potential for appropriate investment in infrastructure, there is significant productivity gains we can derive from that,” Moe said.

The Philippine economy expanded by 6.4 percent in the second quarter, recovering from the 5.8 percent in the January to March period, to bring the six-month tally to 6 percent and become the second fastest-growing nation in Asia.

“The port congestion in Manila has underscored the need to accelerate infrastructure development as it plays a critical role in supporting economic performance and upholding confidence in international businesses to partake in local industries,” said Finance Undersecretary Jose Emmanuel Reverente.

The Aquino administration has tapped the private sector to accelerate infrastructure development through the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

Despite a slow start, the rollout of projects is already picking up, said PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao, citing the award of eight infrastructure projects worth P127.5 billion since the program took off four years ago.

“Momentum is here already,” Canilao said.

The National Economic and Development Authority, which President Benigno Aquino S. Aquino III chairs, last week approved 12 more projects worth a combined P180 billion.

“We now have a very good PPP platform. The appreciation of the local private sector on how to do PPPs has improved a lot. There is an understanding between the government and the private sector on how we do our biddings and finalizing the terms of concession agreements. We now have a proven process,” Canilao said.

Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson said the government is also investing heavily in the countryside, pouring in 30 percent or P63 billion of the proposed P288-billion budget in Mindanao, excluding calamity and Bangsamoro funds.

“Metro Manila is not the Philippines,” Singson said.

For 2013-2016, the government has lined up 952 projects with total investment requirements of P2.06 trillion or $46.69 billion.

The Aquino administration plans to hike infrastructure spending to 5 percent of gross domestic product by 2016. At present, infrastructure spending stands at only 2.2 percent of GDP.

The current regime of low interest rates and predictable inflation, among others, are elements that will support funding for infrastructure project, thus, sustaining the economy’s higher growth trajectory, said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo.

“We have been able to institutionalize many of these initiatives to make sure the macroeconomy is conducive to sustaining the conditions that will help provide funding and confidence in favor of promoting infrastructure,” Gunigundo said.

With better infrastructure, the Philippines can unlock its full potential, allowing corporates to grow by an average rate of 15 percent or higher, Moe said.

“If that happens, stock markets will go up,” he said.

Philippines approves $3.7 bln worth of new PPP projects

Reuters, 17 October 2014

Oct 17 (Reuters) – Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Friday gave authorities the go-ahead to offer for tender 165.6 billion pesos ($3.7 billion) worth of new infrastructure projects under his flagship Public-Private Partnership program in line with efforts to upgrade ageing roads, airports and ports.

The country needs private funds to upgrade and modernise its dilapidated infrastructure as it aims to lift its growth rate upwards to 8 percent so it can catch up with its richer Southeast Asian neighbours.

To be included in the pipeline of projects that could be offered to investors soon under a PPP scheme are the following: operation and maintenance of the Puerto Princesa Airport (5.23 billion pesos; operation and maintenance of Iloilo Airport (30.4 billion pesos); operation and maintenance of Davao Airport (40.57 billion pesos); operation and maintenance of Bacolod Airport (20.26 billion pesos); Regional Prison Facilities (50.18 billion pesos; and Davao Sasa Port (18.99 billion pesos).

“These approved projects will significantly contribute to the infrastructure investment needed to sustain growth and make it inclusive,” Socioeconomic Planning Chief Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.

Since launching the PPP programme in 2010, the government has awarded eight infrastructure projects worth around 133 billion pesos. They consist of toll roads, schools, an automated fare collection system, a railroad and a hospital.

The government has faced criticism from investors over the slow pace of its infrastructure roll out, but argues it had to rework the deals to prevent the corruption that has plagued similar projects in the past.

Top conglomerates like Ayala Corp, San Miguel Corp , Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc, JG Summit Holdings Inc, Metro Pacific Investments Corp and SM Investments Corp have been active in the PPP biddings.

(1 US dollar = 44.8300 Philippine peso) (Reporting By Karen Lema and Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Robert Birsel)

North America Investments Roadshow Promotes PH PPP Projects

Press Release, 18 October 2014

The country’s public-private partnership (PPP) projects are currently being pitched to investors in the North America PPP investments road show. The event, initiated by the PPP Center with the Philippine Consulates and Embassies in Canada and USA, showcases more than fifty (50) PPP projects in the pipeline with an indicative cost of $20.82 billion.

PPP Center Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao leads the North America investment roadshow in Montreal and Toronto, Canada and New York and Washington D.C., United States of America.

The road show kicked off in Toronto, Canada last October 14. Executive Director Canilao meets with fund managers, pension funds and potential investors.

After Canada, the investments road show continues in New York and Washington DC. In New York, Canilao has encouraged international companies to invest in the Philippines’ Public-Private Partnership projects in a forum attended by over 40 potential investors. The forum was organized by the PPP Center in cooperation with Philippine General Consulate.

The investments road show will end in Washington DC today where Executive Director Canilao is set to present in the Forum on PH Infrastructure organized by CGLA at the Philippine Embassy. The presentation will feature transportation projects, including airports, massive transport terminals, and rail lines, and highlighted the Regional Prisons Facilities Project as well as the Batangas-Manila Natural Gas Pipeline.

The Philippines has been encouraging foreign companies to invest in the country’s PPP projects especially now that there is a steady deal flow of investment opportunities in the infrastructure sector and the country’s credit ratings are at an all-time high as evidenced by major international rating agencies’ successive upgrades.

In the past months, the country’s PPP projects were pitched to investors in Europe during President Aquino’s official tour, in Singapore at Infrastructure and PPP, Opportunities Seminar-Roadshow and at the Philippine Economic Briefing in Japan. This forms part of the Center’s thrust to encourage more international players in the Philippine PPP Program.


$11.6-B PPP Projects To Roll Out In Philippines By 2015, 14 October 2014

Almost 16 public-private partnership PPP deals amounting to $11.6 billion to roll out in 2015,

Bidding process for $2.54 billion worth contracts of operations and maintenance of some of Bohol, Laguindingan, Puerto Princesa, Davao, Bacolod and Iloilo airport projects would commence next year. This will also include construction and rehabilitation of the current aviation hubs as well.

One of the biggest project among these 16 projects is $180 million San Fernando Airport project, which includes the construction of an airport terminal with a mall complex in Barangay Poro, San Fernando City.

The construction and the modernization of the Davao Sasa port, (an international-standard container port with modrn facilities) project worth $388 million is under transport agency is also about to take off and will ultimately benefit the import and export industry of the country, more specifically the island of Mindanao.

The projects like $428.89-million Motor Vehicle Inspection System; the $3.70-billion North-South Railway Project-South Line; the $3-billion Mass Transit System Loop; the Manila Bay-Pasig River-Laguna Lake Ferry System; and the Light Rail Transit Line 1 Dasmariñas Extension. Are under the secretary of Transportation.

Other PPP deals P1.12-billion Regional Prison Facilities; the $416-million Metropolitan the New Centennial Water Supply Project, the Batangas-Manila (BatMan) Natural Gas Pipeline Project (approximately 110-kilometers natural-gas transmission and distribution).

The government has awarded eight PPP contracts since the flagship infrastructure program was launched in late 2010 and 15 more contracts are to be awarded till 2016.

ADB extends $500,000 grant to Bureau of the Treasury

Business Mirror, 13 October 2014

By Cai U. Ordinario

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has extended $500,000 in technical assistance grant to the Philippines to improve the staff capacity of the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) in securities dealing, processing, as well as in asset management.

The ADB grant will help finance the project titled Strengthening Treasury Operations and Capital Market Reform which will hire a consultant to conduct the training of the BTr staff.

In a document updated by the ADB last week, the consultant will work with the BTr staff for 22 working days starting January 2015. Funding was approved by the ADB Board in September 2014.

“The expert will work with BTr’s government debt resident adviser and assist BTr in implementing its updated organization structure as well as launching BTr’s newly developed investment and risk management functions. The expert will, likewise, strengthen BTr’s dealers by increasing their technical capacity through on-the-job training,” the ADB document stated.

The project was green lighted by the ADB Board in September and was the fourth project approved for funding by the Manila-based multilateral development bank for the Philippines this year.

The other three projects approved this year involved another $500,000 grant for the project Teach for the Philippines; the $250-million worth loan for the Local Government Finance and Fiscal Decentralization Reform Program-Subprogram 1; and a $2-million grant for the Strengthening Evaluation and Fiscal Cost Management of public-private partnerships (PPPs).

The funding for Teach for the Philippines was approved in August 2014; the Local Government project in February 2014; and the grant for Strengthening Evaluation and Fiscal Cost Management of PPPs in May 2014.

The Teach for Philippines project aims to improve the country’s progress in meeting the education-related Millennium Development Goals. The project will focus on regional and income-based inequalities.

The ADB’s participation in the Local Government Finance project is through a loan that was approved in February this year, while the bank is extending a technical assistance to the Strengthening Evaluation and Fiscal Cost Management of PPPs project approved in May.

The Strengthening Evaluation and Fiscal Cost Management of PPPs project aims to improve the financial sustainability infrastructure investments made through PPPs by strengthening the National Economic and Development Authority’s capacity to appraise PPP projects.

Apart from the four approved projects, the Philippine government still has six more projects proposed for funding by the ADB. Five of these projects are loans and only one is a technical assistance or grant project.

The loan projects include the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Project, where ADB was asked to finance a $70,000 loan; the Solid Waste Management Sector Project, $70,000; and the Water District Development Sector Project, $60,000.

The loan projects also include the Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project, where ADB is proposed to finance $115,500 and the Senior High School Support Program, $300,000.

The lone proposed technical assistance project involves the PFM 3, or the project previously known as the Governance and Public Financial Management Phase I where ADB’s contribution is still undetermined as of October 2014.

Japan investors urged to fill gap in PH infra funding

Philippine Inquirer, 11 October 2014
By Ben O. de Vera
Philippine economic managers have urged Japanese investors to pour money into the country’s infrastructure in order to sustain the growing economy.

“The [Philippine] government is working to step up investments in infrastructure to be at par with other competing economies and to meet the country’s future growth requirements,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said during the Philippine Economic Briefing in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The Aquino administration aims to jack up infrastructure spending to at least 5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2016, from a mere 2.2-percent share in 2012.

In a statement Friday, the Investor Relations Office reported that Philippine officials encouraged the more than 400 Japanese businessmen and government representatives at the Tokyo road show to look into the opportunities being presented by the public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects to be rolled out within a year’s time, on top of prospects in the capital markets, tourism and power sectors.

The PPP projects are worth $12.28 billion.

To improve the country’s infrastructure, 16 PPP projects will be rolled out in the next 12 months. The projects include the operation and maintenance of the airports in Bacolod (worth $450.2 million), Davao ($901.6 million), Iloilo ($675.6 million), Panglao in Bohol ($52 million), Puerto Princesa City ($116.2 million), and Laguindingan ($353.8 million), according to PPP Center Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao.

The Japanese investors were also urged to study the $3.927-billion south line of the North-South Commuter Railway, the $3-billion Mass Transit System Loop, the $1.115-billion Regional Prison Facilities, the $464-million San Fernando Airport, the $428.9-million Motor Vehicle Inspection System, the $416-million New Centennial Water Supply Source project, the $377.8-million Davao Sasa Port, as well as the Batangas-Manila Natural Gas Pipeline, the Light Rail Transit Line 1 Dasmariñas Extension and the Manila Bay-Pasig River-Laguna Lake Ferry System projects.

About 17 percent of the country’s 32,000-kilometer national road network also remains unpaved. This is where Japanese firms may partner with the Philippine government in the areas of construction, consultancy as well as technical support services, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio L. Singson noted.

Philippine economic managers pitch PPP projects in Tokyo roadshow

InterAksyon, 10 October 2014
By Darwin G. Amojelar
MANILA – Philippine economic managers have offered to Japanese investors a string of public-private partnership (PPP) projects that the Aquino administration will roll out next year.

“There are 16 projects that we are planning to roll out by next year,” said PPP Center executive director Cosette V. Canilao, who has joined a Philippine delegation in a roadshow in Japan.

One of the 16 projects is the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s (MWSS) P18.72 billion New Centennial Water Supply Project.

A Japanese conglomerate, Marubeni Corp, is already participating in the Philippine water sector, after taking a stake in Maynilad Water Services Inc, the private concessionaire for the east zone of MWSS.

“The New Centennial Water Supply Project will ensure water security for the residents of Metro Manila,” Canilao said.

MWSS has begun soliciting bids for the project, the deadline for which falls on November 17.

Also offered to the Japanese business community are the operations and maintenance (O&M) contracts of several airports in Bohol, Laguindingan, Puerto Princesa, Davao, Bacolod and Iloilo.

“These airport projects have an estimated cost of around $2,549.33 million in total and they are also included in our list of possible investment opportunities”, Canilao said.

The Philippine delegation also pitched the San Fernando Airport Project, which involves construction of an airport terminal with a mall complex in Barangay Poro, San Fernando City in La Union. The project has a $180 million budget.

The $388-million construction and modernization of the Davao Sasa port is also one of the PPP projects that was showcased in the forum.

“This project will ultimately benefit the import and export industry of the country, specifically the island of Mindanao through transforming its facilities into a modern, international-standard container port”, Canilao said.

Other PPP projects that were presented in Tokyo are as follows:

$1.115.11-billion Regional Prison Facilities project;
$428.89-million Motor Vehicle Inspection System;
$3.702 billion North-South Railway Project-South Line;
$3-billion Mass Transit System Loop;
Manila Bay-Pasig River – Laguna Lake Ferry System; and
LRT1 Dasmarinas Extension, which will extend the train service by approximately 15 kilometers.

Canilao said the government also is pursuing the Batangas-Manila (BatMan) Natural Gas Pipeline project, which involves construction of an approximately 110-kilometer natural gas transmission and distribution pipeline from the province of Batangas to transport and supply natural gas to Batangas, Laguna, Cavite and Metro Manila.

“The government assured the Japanese companies that significant reforms in the implementation of the country’s PPP program have already been put in place. And the Philippines has been consistent in rolling out PPP projects through transparent, credible and accountable processes,” Canilao said.

Economic team dangles $12.28-billion projects in Tokyo road show

Business Mirror, 10 October 2014
By David Cagahastian
The government’s economic officials invited Japanese businessmen to invest in over $12.28 billion worth of public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects to be rolled out within the next 12 months.

In the economic road show hosted by the Philippines in Tokyo on Wednesday, the government invited Japanese fund managers and investors to tap the Philippines’s comparative advantages as an investment destination.

“The Philippines is looking north to Japan, and hopes that Japan will look south to the Philippines,” Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said in his statement to open the road show at the Shangri-La Hotel in Tokyo.

“The Japanese and Filipino economies are heavily complementary. Japan has an abundance of investible capital and manufacturing prowess, while the Philippines has a young and talented labor force,” he said.

Aside from the Philippines’s work force, Purisima said the country’s large population provides a huge market for Japanese investments. He said the strategic geographical location of the Philippines and its role in the Asean Economic Community also makes the Philippines an attractive investment destination.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said investing in the Philippines would be a prudent move because of its favorable economic prospects. The National Economic and Development Authority expects gross domestic product to grow by at least 6.5 percent this year, between 7 percent and 8 percent next year, and between 7.5 and 8.5 percent in 2016.

PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao said the $12.28 billion worth of PPP deals consist of 13 infrastructure projects to be rolled out within the year. There would be three more PPP projects to be rolled out within the short term, but the costs of these deals have yet to be determined.

The PPP projects are the following: New Centennial Water Supply Source ($416 million); Enhanced Operation and Maintenance of Panglao Airport in Bohol ($52 million); O&M of Laguindingan Airport ($353.8 million); O&M of Puerto Princesa Airport ($116.2 million); O&M of Davao Airport ($901.6 million); O&M of Bacolod Airport ($450.2 million); O&M of Iloilo Airport ($675.6 million); Davao Sasa Port ($377.8 million); Regional Prison Facilities ($1.115 billion); Motor Vehicle Inspection System ($428.9 million); North-South Railway Project-South Line ($3.927 billion); Mass Transit System Loop ($3 billion); San Fernando Airport ($464 million). Energy Undersecretary Raul Aguilos also presented investment opportunities in the Philippines’s indigenous energy resources, such as hydroelectric and natural oil and gas development.

He said the Department of Energy aims to nearly triple the country’s installed renewable-energy capacity from the current 5,438 MW to 15,304.30 MW by 2030.

On oil and natural gas, he said there are 16 sedimentary basins all over the Philippines with combined potential of 4,777 million barrels of fuel oil equivalent of oil and gas reserves. Moreover, he said, there are 13 coal basins in the country with a total resource potential of 2.4 billion metric tons.

Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. also promoted the tourism industry, saying the increasing tourist arrivals in the country will result in a room gap in hotels by about 50,000 by 2016.

On the regulation side of business, Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Nelson Aspe and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Teresita Herbosa talked about tax-related matters and securities registration in the Philippines, respectively, to assure the government’s support to make it easier for foreigners to invest in the Philippines.

BSP Assistant Governor Johnny Noe E. Ravalo presented the favorable inflation and banking-sector outlook for the Philippines for the medium term. He cited growing resources of the Philippine banking sector that will help fund the economy’s investment requirements.

The law liberalizing entry of foreign banks, which was passed earlier this year, is expected to further boost the ability of the country’s banking sector to service the growing credit requirements as economic activities rise. Purisima said more foreign banks in the country should also bode well for attracting foreign direct investments because they can serve as good channels of information about the Philippine economy.

The latest road show was organized with assistance from Japanese banks, including Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, Daiwa Securities Group Inc., Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Securities Co. Ltd., Mizuho Bank Ltd., Mizuho Securities, Nomura Holdings Inc., SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

The following Japanese government agencies, likewise, helped organize the event: Ministry of Finance, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Japan International Cooperation Agency and Japan External Trade Organization.

PPP pitched to Japanese investors

The Philippine Star, 10 October 2014

By Ted P. Torres

MANILA, Philippines – Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Arsenio M. Balisacan is pitching Philippine infrastructure and power projects, particularly those under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program, to investors in Japan.

In an economic briefing on Philippine infrastructure and investment plans in Tokyo, Balisacan told Japanese investors that there are hundreds of infrastructure-related projects worth billions of dollars in need of private investors.

For 2013-2016, the priority programs and projects for the infrastructure sector consist of 952 projects with total investment requirements amounting to about $46.69 billion, including capital infrastructure projects, both ongoing and proposed.

“Investment requirements for infrastructure development remain huge despite increased public infrastructure spending. Therefore, this will be supplemented by private sector investments through PPPs,” said Balisacan.

He told Japanese investors that the Philippine government is reviewing and outlining policies and legal framework involving private sector participation to make it easier to start and maintain business.

These include the build-operate-transfer (BOT) law and the joint venture (JV) guidelines. Likewise, reforms in the energy sector, particularly the approval of the feed-in-tariff (FiT) rates, also aim to increase private sector participation by encouraging investments in renewable energy (RE) projects.

The Updated Philippine Development Plan identified six key sectors that generate high quality employment for Filipinos and huge private sector investment. These are manufacturing, agribusiness, tourism, information technology-business process management, logistics, and construction.

Balisacan also told investors that the Philippine government targets gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2014. It grew 7.2 percent in 2013.

For 2015, the growth rate is targeted at seven to eight percent, and 7.5 to 8.5 percent in 2016.

The industry sector is projected to grow the fastest, while the services sector is expected to remain robust during the period.

“Given all these, the government is working to step up investments in infrastructure to be at par with other competing economies and to meet the country’s future growth requirements,” the chief economic planner said.