Marcos plans Maharlika fund ‘soft launch’ at Davos meeting

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. will invite potential investors to provide capital to his proposed sovereign wealth fund at the World Economic Forum meeting next week, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The forum, gathering world leaders at the Swiss resort of Davos, is a “great venue” to introduce the administration’s sovereign wealth fund proposal, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Carlos D. Sorreta said at a briefing on Thursday, following a meeting with Mr. Marcos earlier in the day.

“The World Economic Forum is a great venue to do a sort of soft launch for our sovereign wealth fund, given the prominence of the forum itself, which global and business leaders (will attend),” he said.

Mr. Sorreta said the President intends to highlight the country’s economic fundamentals and the rationale behind the decision to establish the fund.

“It’s really more of a soft launch to introduce it,” he said.

The House of Representatives has approved the bill creating the wealth fund. The Senate, which has yet to discuss the measure, has included the bill to its list of legislative priorities for 2023.

The sovereign wealth fund, if approved, is expected to finance big government projects such as power grids and dams. Its main funders are currently government banks, after a backlash against an earlier proposal to tap pension funds.

The Maharlika Investment Corp., the government company that will manage the fund, will be chaired by the Secretary of Finance.

“I understand it is evolving, we have the fullest respect for the Congressional process, and the open hearings that they’re having, and how to work out the details but the broad strokes (indicate that) the President has a very, very good grasp of what he wants to achieve, whatever form the sovereign wealth fund finally takes,” Mr. Sorreta said.

“What’s very important is it’s an investment in the future, and there’s great confidence the President has in the ability of Filipino entrepreneurs and local investors,” he added.

Mr. Marcos will be in Davos between Jan. 16 and 20. He will be joined by a delegation of economic managers and business leaders.

At Davos, Mr. Marcos is scheduled to meet with leaders from South Africa, Belgium, and the European Commission, Mr. Sorreta said.

Mr. Marcos will highlight priority areas like food, nutrition, and energy security, Mr. Sorreto added.

The Philippines has lowered its economic growth target for 2023 to 6.0%-7.0% from 6.5%-7.5%. Inflation came in at 8.1% in December, the highest level since November 2008. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza