Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno presented the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) as a tool for economic development to the business community during the Asia CEO Forum entitled “Maharlika Wealth Fund: Financing the Future” on February 24, 2023 at the Manila Marriott Hotel.
“The Maharlika Investment Fund, which shall be the country’s first-ever sovereign investment fund, is designed to promote economic development by making strategic and profitable investments in key sectors,” he said.
Secretary Diokno cited key examples such as public road networks, tollways, green energy, water, agro-industrial ventures, and telecommunications, which offer better rates of return and greater socioeconomic impact.
In the near and medium term, the passage of the MIF will widen the country’s fiscal space and ease pressures in financing public infrastructure projects. Currently, the national budget, public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements, and official development assistance (ODA) serve as the Philippines’ main finance mechanisms for infrastructure projects.
“The Fund is an additional vehicle that would allow the government to tap surpluses that cannot be utilized under current legal frameworks. It will also be open to co-financing with foreign investors and multilateral institutions to facilitate financing of capital-intensive big-ticket infrastructure,” Secretary Diokno added.
He assured that the Fund will be established with the highest standards of accountability, fiscal responsibility, and good governance.
“The proposed Fund will adhere to the Santiago Principles, which pertain to the generally accepted principles and practices to ensure the effective operations of sovereign wealth funds globally, and will be governed by the relevant investment and risk management guidelines,” Secretary Diokno explained.
House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez delivered a pre-recorded message during the event, explaining the provisions of the MIF bill, while economist Dr. Bernie Villegas spoke about the Fund’s potential positive impact on economic growth and poverty reduction.
Secretary Diokno, Dr. Villegas, and Congressman Irwin Tieng, Representative of the 5th District of Manila and Chairperson of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries, engaged in an open forum with business sector attendees, moderated by Asia CEO Chairman Richard Mills.
The MIF bill is currently pending at the committee level in the Senate.
“As Congress deliberates the Maharlika Investment Fund bill, the economic team is committed to guiding our legislators to ensure that this Fund will be used for programs and projects that promote economic growth, create jobs, and increase incomes for our people––now and in the future,” said Secretary Diokno.
The Asia CEO Forum brings together the business community through its large-scale events in the Philippines that serve as hubs for fruitful discourse and relationship building.