By Prince Golez
Setting up a sovereign wealth fund is a “good idea” to leverage government assets and pursue big-ticket infrastructure projects, particularly in energy and agriculture, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Wednesday.
Marcos Jr. made this remark in a breakfast meeting with top international chief executive officers on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland.
“When we first discussed the sovereign wealth fund, the real purpose is that there is not enough money in government to do all the things that we need to do,” the President said.
“We have reserves. And we must make [sure] that money sitting in banks, commercial and government… we need to find a way to make that money work for us, and that’s why we thought the sovereign wealth fund would be a good idea to leverage what assets the government has, what monies the government has,” he added.
Marcos Jr. said the proposed sovereign wealth fund will also pave the way for funding critical infrastructure projects, “especially since the development that we are anticipating to initiate are really big-ticket items.”
“We’re talking about energy, we’re talking about infrastructure, we’re talking about agricultural development, we’re talking about digitalization. So all of these will need a great deal of support,” according to him.
The Chief Executive said the fund would “play its part” in encouraging public-private partnerships (PPPs), emphasizing the importance of the private sector in national growth and development.
“The idea is that the sovereign wealth fund will play its part in encouraging also our PPPs. The rules have been changed by the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority)… and that has made it much much easier now for investors to come in and to engage in PPPs,” said Marcos Jr.
He said with professionals managing the fund, there will be efficiency and assurance in driving strategically important investments in the country.
“The management of the wealth fund must be seen to be rational, sober, professional… we will certainly make sure that anyone who will look at the fund will see that it is run professionally and properly. In that way, the wealth fund has a good future to be able, as I said, to succeed in doing what we want to do, which is leveraging what we have for these big-ticket investments,” the President said.
House Bill No. (HBN) 6608 or the Maharlika Investment Fund Act (MIF) is an independent fund that adheres to the principles of good governance, transparency and accountability.
It shall be sourced from the investible funds of select government financial institutions, from contributions of the national government, declared dividends of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and other sources of funds.
Hbn 6608 was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives on December 15, 2022 and was transmitted to the Senate on December 19.