GSIS President and General Manager Arnulfo "Wick" Veloso (File photo)

MANILA – The proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) is a “long-term investment” that aims to contribute to nation-building, a high-ranking official said Tuesday.

Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) President and General Manager Arnulfo "Wick" Veloso made this remark following concerns that the fund may endanger state pension funds managed by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS).

"The Maharlika Investment Fund is an opportunity for us to be able to invest in an opportunity not only to allow us to get returns but also to have a contribution to nation-building," he said in an interview over Radyo Pilipinas.

"We would like to let the public know that this is an opportunity for us to be able to push the country to grow, and again I reiterate that whatever investments we make here are going to accrue to the members of the Government Service Insurance System and we are there at the Maharlika Board to make sure the investments are protected while at the same time help in nation building," he added.

Veloso allayed public fears over checks and balances in the MIF, assuring that the proposed Maharlika Board would ensure investments under the fund will be made public.

“At kami po ay naroroon para siguraduhin na ma-invest ito (We are here to ensure that this investment will be done) properly. There are various layers of transparency to make sure that the funds are protected and invested properly and we are going to make sure the public is going to be made aware," he added.

He said there would also be a representation of the private sector through the participation of independent directors, congressional oversight and an internationally accredited auditing firm.

Veloso earlier said a few key industries in the country can move forward upon investment in high capital expenditures through the MIF which will, in turn, improve employment, taxation and economic activities.

Aside from Veloso, other members of the country’s economic team namely Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Socioeconomic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon, Bangko Sentral Monetary Board Member Bruce Tolentino have also backed the proposed MIF.

Diokno said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. himself has given the creation of a MIF the green light.

He said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) had “too much” gross international reserves (GIR) and some could be used for the proposed MIF.

Diokno said the country should have had a sovereign wealth fund a long time ago to set aside funds for future generations.

House Bill No. 6398 defines MIF as an independent fund that adheres to the principles of good governance, transparency and accountability.

The proposed measure states that the fund shall be used to invest on a strategic and commercial basis in a manner designed to promote fiscal stability for economic development and strengthen the top-performing government financial institutions (GFIs) through additional investment platforms that will help attain the national government's priority plans. (PNA)