Business leaders say tepid govt support hobbles IT infra growth (Business Mirror (Philippines))

INSUFFICIENT.

This is how majority of CEOs and business leaders describe government’s effort to improve the country’s digital infrastructure.

Seventy-nine percent of corporate executives surveyed in the Philippine CEO Survey Report said so.

The survey, conducted by the Isla Lipana and Co./PwC as the knowledge partner of the Managament Association of the Philippines (MAP), covered 76 CEOs and business leaders in varying industries in the Philippines. Seventeen CEOs were interviewed face to face, the report said.

The survey was conducted to underpin MAP’s International CEO Conference to be held on September 8, on the theme Metamorphosis: Inspired by Vision, Fueled by Innovation and focused on the significance and impact of innovation to Philippine businesses.

Jade T. Roxas-Divinagracia, PwC Philippines managing partner for deals and corporate finance, revealed that while 84 percent of the companies believe innovation is key to growth, the government moves to improve information technology (IT) infrastructure-seen to pave the way for innovation-has been lacking. It would seem that our country’s digital infastructure does not set the stage for innovation. We have the slowest Internet speed in Asia next to Afghanistan, and 79 percent of CEOs believe the government has not been effective in improving the country’s digital infrastructure, Divinagracia said.

Having an adequate digital infrastructure is pivotal as 84 percent of CEOs believe that innovation, not just in technology, but in processes that will improve and produce new products, services and business models, is deemed key to their enterprise’s growth.

Similarly, 96 percent of CEOs cited that their main reason for innovating is to stay on top of competition.

However, on the private sector side, there appears to be significant barriers in investing more in innovation capabilities also.

The survey revealed 62 percent of CEOs surveyed said they allocate less than 5 percent of their revenues to research and development (RandD), mainly due to high costs, as well as significant expenses it will entail.

What this figure reflects is the general sentiment of businesses in spending for RandD, because of the high risks involved, Alexander Cabrera, PwC chairman, added.

However, MAP President Francisco del Rosario clarified that the percent estimate cannot be interpreted as lacking because revenue allocation for RandD varies per industry.

According to the report, albeit RandD plays a role in driving innovation, spending on it is not the only factored to be considered.

The Philippines has been identified as having one of the highest cost per megabytes per second (Mbps) with an average value of $18.19 compared to the global cost of $5.21 per Mbps.