Maharlika needs fine-tuning – Budget chief

PANGANDAMAN ON BUSINESS AND POLITICS Budget Secretary AmenahPangandaman is interviewed by SMNI ‘Business and Politics’ program host and The Manila Times Chairman and CEO Dante ‘Klink’ Ang 2nd.PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

DEPARTMENT of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) has to be fine-tuned further to make it a “development fund.”

Pangandaman raised the need to tweak the MIF during the “Business and Politics” program on SMNI, aired every Saturday and hosted by The Manila Times Chairman and CEO Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd.

Pangandaman said that when the bill was presented to the House of Representatives, some issues arose, particularly the plan to tap state pension funds to start up the MIF.

Among the reforms proposed were to reduce competition from the private sector and incorporate features from successful sovereign wealth funds that neighboring countries have set up, she said.

“It's a good thing that [the MIF] is a [piece of] legislation, so we have time to consult the stakeholders” and the measure could be approved by June, she said.

She said the MIF will fund the government's big-ticket infrastructure projects.

During the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies hearing on the proposed MIF, Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd said the bill only managed to sow “confusion.”

“It doesn't know what it wants to achieve. There are internal contradictions. It is no longer a sovereign wealth fund because somehow [it] shifted the direction to an investment fund,” Pimentel said.

He also questioned the competence of the proponents of the MIF. “Something is very wrong, so this is already a red flag or a warning sign to us that the proponents may not even be serious about this bill and may just be writing on a fad just to say that we are part of the trend.”

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the MIF proposal is raw, but Pangandaman said the measure just needs a little more tweaking.

“Maybe, we're really just optimistic that this vehicle (MIF) will be able to aid what we need,” she said.

To become a development fund that will benefit the people, the MIF has to be looked over by proficient people, Pangandaman said.

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