08 August 2014

Truck ban hurting economy–chamber

The truck ban measure in Manila is partly to blame for a recent spike in the inflation rate and may hold back economic growth, locally-based foreign businessmen say.

The Foreign Chamber Council of the Philippines (FCCP) said that City Ordinance 8336 on road decongestion has increased the cost of doing business nationwide. FCCP chairman Philip Chien said transport and storage charges have risen significantly since the truck ban took effect.

The cost of trucking alone has nearly doubled following the truck ban in Manila, he said because cargo firms have been forced to charge more for the same services because their trucks can make fewer round trips daily.

“Our members are paying for the idle time of those trucks,” Chien said.

The chamber has recommended the immediate suspension of CO 8336 to avert the “derailment” of the economy; decongestion of the Port of Manila by relocating some of its key operations to other viable ports, such as the Batangas Port and the Subic Bay Port; removal of 35,000 empty containers; inclusion of the business sector in the formulation of a long-term solution to the present transport problems.

Chien said CO 8336 is likely to be reflected in the 3rd quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures. He said a growth of “less than 6 percent” is probable because of higher costs, delays in delivery and losses in business opportunities. The Aquino Administration is reportedly targeting upwards of a 7 percent growth.

FCCI’s membership includes the local chambers of commerce of Taiwan, India, Finland, Israel, Singapore, Spain, France, Turkey and Malaysia.

Chamber insiders said the Federation of Philippine Industries is being tapped to join the move to have the ban revoked.

The group has indicated plans to go directly to Malacañang for an audience.

“The Administration’s economic growth targets are at stake, so we think the President will support us,” it said in a statement. (Miguel C. Gil, Manila Standard Today)