NEW DTI CHIEF VOWS TO PURSUE ARROYO'S 8-POINT AGENDA

MANILA,  January 12, 2004 (STAR) By Marianne V. Go - In his first press conference as Trade and Industry Secretary, Cesar A.V. Purisima assured that in the short six month time frame that he has initially set for himself, he would basically adhere to President Arroyo’s 8-Point Agenda concentrating on four of the eight points and follow through on programs started by his predecessor, Manuel A. Roxas II.

The four points which Purisima would concentrate on are job creation, stabilizing prices, improving infrastructure to encourage more businesses and improving health through the cheap medicine program.

Purisima admitted that he has no "preconceived notions" about his new position and that he has no intention of making any "earthshaking changes" in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the six months that he may hold is office.

However, Purisima noted, there is still a lot of things he can do and he would thus focus on execution or getting things done.

First and foremost, Purisima said, he would like to encourage more entrepreneurs as "entrepreneurship is close to my heart."

Purisima believes that entrepreneurship is a "key item in the engine for growth."

He cited that fact that small and medium enterprises comprise 99.6 percent of businesses in the country and generate 70 percent of employment.

Unfortunately, Purisima observed," a lot are survival entrepreneurs."

The approach Purisima wants to take to nurture the country’s entrepreneurs would be a "Big Brother, Small Brother approach" wherein large companies could help start up new entrepreneurs.

Thus, Purisima said, he would work with various institutions to implement such an approach.

Second, Purisima said, he would continue to push information and communications technology (ICT).

He noted that the government has already done well in promoting the ICT sector and now follow-through is needed.

Purisima, thus, intends to convince ICT firms already in the country to invest more in their existing operations.

His third goal, Purisima said, is for investment retention. This involves "making sure that those already here stay here and continue to put money here."

His other goals, Purisima said, is improving infrastructure and technology "because it is important to exports and makes it easier for businesses to operate in the country."

Helping consumers, Purisima concluded, would also be a priority in his six months at the DTI.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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