Semiconductor firms: Truck ban, power rate hike threats to growth
MANILA, Philippines – The Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (SEIPI) said Thursday, February 27 rising power costs and Manila's truck ban are "threats" to industry growth this year.
In a statement, SEIPI noted that the industry ended 2013 with a 5% contraction to US$21.82 billion.
While the industry projects a modest growth of 5% this year, factors such as the controversial increase in power costs in Luzon and the Manila truck ban may dampen growth.
Power distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) imposed a P4.15 per kilowatt-hour increase in its rate in December, but this was temporarily stopped by the Supreme Court pending deliberations on the case filed against it.
Signed by Mayor Joseph Estrada on February 5, the Manila ban covers "cargo trucks, gravel and sand trucks, cement mixers and other heavy cargo trucks with 8 wheels and up or whose gross vehicle weights exceed 4,500 kilograms." Affected vehicles could pass through Manila via specific routes. A 5-hour window – from 10 am to 3 pm – has been put in place as a concession.
SEIPI called for an immediate lifting of the truck ban ordinance. "Ultimately given the negative impact on the business sector," the SEIPI said it may be best "to elevate the matter to the Office of the President for their immediate intervention."
The Makati Business Club (MBC), for its part, called for a calm discussion leading towards an amenable resolution of the ban for both sides. The MBC welcomes "the initiative of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary to convene pertinent national government agencies to facilitate dialogue between the government of Manila and other stakeholders" to ensure "a fair solution will be reached at the soonest possible time." – Rappler.com