Manila: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday signed into law a bill creating a sovereign wealth fund, marking a key legislative win for his administration after months of debates and controversy.
Marcos enacted the measure creating the Maharlika Investment Fund, which is envisioned to pool funds from state banks and government-controlled corporations. The money will be invested in currencies, bonds, equities and infrastructure projects.
“We will leverage on a small fraction of the considerable but underutilized investable funds of government and stimulate the economy without the disadvantage of having additional fiscal and debt burden,” Marcos said in a speech after signing the bill.
The president also said the fund will boost foreign investments, and gave assurance that it will be managed well.
“Let us make sure that the decisions being made for the fund are not political decisions, but financial decisions,” Marcos said.
The bill hurdled Congress in less than a year and got huge support from administration lawmakers after the president and his economic managers sought its immediate passage. Marcos’s economic team said the wealth fund will make more resources available for government to spend and help boost economic growth.
Some economists, however, have raised concerns about the fund’s timing and potential impact on public coffers, as well as the risk of corruption. Economic managers said sufficient safeguards, including audits, are in place to minimize risks.