Higher investments in science, tech to boost productivity: NEDA

By Leslie Gatpolintan

April 12, 2019, 7:17 pm

MANILA -- The Philippines needs to ramp up investment spending in science and technology to spur productivity growth as it gears up for the so-called Asian Century, an official of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Friday.

“The benchmark actually is one percent of GDP (gross domestic product) but ours for many years have been very low…We are already increasing investments on science and technology, R&D (research and development),” NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion Navarro said in an interview on the sidelines of a forum on advancing national productivity through excellence strategies.

She said it is also imperative for the private sector to make investments on technologies, such as on smart manufacturing and green productivity technologies.

Navarro said the concept of the Asian Century emerged from the 2011 study by the Asian Development Bank which found that an additional three billion Asians could enjoy living standards similar to those in Europe today, and that Asia could account for over half of the global output by the middle of the century.

She underscored the need for the Philippines to collaborate with other Asian countries, learn from them, and devise ways and means by which they can “help turn the so-called Asian Century into a reality.”

Navarro cited as an example the smart manufacturing implemented by India, the Center of Excellence (COE) on Information Technology (IR) for Industry 4.0, as well as the strategies on green productivity especially recycling.

“I think if we are able to have a greater efficiency in production and if we are able to employ the concept of circular economy, what we produce and then consume later on, the by-products we return it to the economy, we do recycling. We are manufacturing something out of the wastes that we are generating then, that will not only contribute to waste reduction but will also generate value-added [goods and services],” she added.

Meanwhile, the Asian Productivity Organization’s (APO) COE program is a formally designated institution or network of institutions in a member economy which has achieved a world class level of competency, with exemplary performance and experience in a specific area that contributes to productivity, APO secretary general Dr. Santhi Kanokthanaporn said during the forum.

The Philippines, in 2015, has been designed as APO COE on Public Sector Productivity with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) as its focal institution.

“...When we look at the concept of productivity, it’s not only that the private sector that has to improve its productivity, not only companies, but also the public sector. That includes government agencies and also government corporations because we have government corporations which are producing goods and services,” Navarro said

“So it’s important to engage them also in productivity improvements because it’s a whole of country approach when we do productivity enhancements. That should be the way,” she added. (PNA)