September 7, 2009
(STAR) By Iris C. Gonzales - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is urging developing countries including the Philippines to formulate as early as now their “exit plans” for withdrawing their respective stimulus programs earlier put in place to combat the global economic crisis.

IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said that while the global economy is already starting to recover, countries should remain cautious and continue to keep their stimulus interventions in place.

“I am concerned about the social and economic costs of high unemployment, which will persist even as financial markets and output stabilizes,” said Strauss-Kahn, stressing that a jobless recovery could happen if governments do not have proper exit plans.

Given the fragility of the recovery, the Washington-based Fund warned that “policymakers shoulder on the side of caution as they decide when to exit from their crisis response policies.”

Strauss-Kahn, however, said that governments should develop their exit plans now so that they are able to build public support and act when the time is right.

To be able to prepare for the post-crisis period, Strauss-Kahn said governments should first identify new sources of growth in their respective economies.

On the demand side, “the baton will eventually need to be passed from the public to the private sector,” Strauss-Kahn said.

The next step he said is to push for sustainable improvement in financial markets. He urged policy makers to remain focused on the crisis response agenda, which includes undertaking a comprehensive diagnosis of banking systems and launching asset-management programs to deal with banks’ bad assets.

On financial regulation, he cautioned that reforms are not proceeding as quickly as necessary. He called for increasing capital requirements and making them more sensitive to risk. He added that the operational framework for macroprudential supervision remains a “work in progress.”

With regard to financial sector compensation, he noted that a culture of risk-taking in major financial firms had been an important factor in the crisis, and raised concerns that financial sector recovery could lead to “business as usual.” He said that the international community must “stand together to make meaningful progress in this area”.

Finally, Strauss-Kahn said that there is a need to make the international monetary system more stable.

US firm to invest $50 billion in RP project By Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) Updated September 07, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - US-based Swiss Global Connect USA will invest $50 billion to develop priority projects in tourism, real estate development, infrastructure, agricultural research, indigenous power supply and mineral enhancements in Zambales.

Zambales Governor Amor Deloso has signed in behalf of the provincial government a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Swiss Global Connect USA in partnership with AIPAC Philippines Management Corp.

“An initial $50 billion will be earmarked over a 10-year period to fund the province’s development projects in tourism that include the San Salvador Island, Masinloc Resort Complex, Mt. Tapulao Palauig Tourism Complex and the Zambales Fantasy Island in Subic,” Deloso said.

Deloso noted that the projects will also cover the contruction of a toll bypass expressway linking Tarlac and Zambales and providing access to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). It will also include the upgrading and rehabilitation of the Iba Airstrip for domestic flights.

“A 620-hectare real estate development in the town of Subic will transformed into a financial district, educational and learning center, with executive housing, parks, hotels, convention center and state of the art hospital,” Deloso said.

This, amid plans to also establish a state-of-the-art agricultural research center in a tie-up with the Ramon Magsaysay Memorial State University (RMMSU) for research and development, Deloso said.

Deloso also said that the MOA allocates a “64-hectare shoreline area for the construction of a facility converting magnesium energy into alternative power supply.”

“Mineral exploration consistent with full compliance of environmental policies and the dredging of Macolcol, Maloma and Bucao rivers to prevent flash flooding in nearby communities will also be done,” he added.

Deloso said that the various projects will be under either the build, operate and transfer (BOT) or the build, operate and own (BOO) programs of the national and provincial government.

The Swiss Global Connect USA and AIPAC Philippines Management Corporation are headed by their president and chief executive officer Rubina Zahid. Their mother company in the US is a partnership of Russian, Japanese and American businessmen and is listed as a corporation in California.

In her speech after the MOA signing, Zahid cited Zambales’ natural beauty and topography as the top reasons why her company chose the province for its huge investments.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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