A new bill filed in Congress proposes the creation of a sovereign fund which will allow Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) all over the world to invest their money to finance the government’s select infrastructure projects, and gain profitable returns in the process.
According to ANGKLA party-list Rep. Jesulito Manalo, who is also the author of House Bill 6519 otherwise known as the “OFW Sovereign Fund Act”, an estimated 10 million OFWs all over the world would benefit from the sovereign fund through the government’s efforts in developing sustainable methods which aim to help OFWs make better use of their financial investments, and in this manner, help support government programs which ultimately leads to establishing a new income-generating mechanism for the entire country.
Proposed OFW sovereign fund to drive high-revenue projects by the government
The proposed bill designates the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) to form the special fund which will initially pool all the investments made by OFWs, their immediate families, as well other Filipino citizens overseas. The collected funds will be used to finance the government’s choice key projects.
Some of the key projects which the government is eyeing on include the acquisition or establishment of highly sustainable, revenue-driving private or government corporations in line with any of the following highly profitable industries: downstream petrol, transmission and distribution, electric power production, as well as information and communication among others to help relieve the government from its heavy dependence on taxes and fees for its primary source of funds.
Additionally, the bill intends to exempt active and former OFWs as well as other investors supporting the bonds and other investment instruments to be issued by the government from all kinds of tax existing in exchange for their financial investments.
The BTr shall be responsible for notifying and educating all OFWs regarding the sovereign fund.
The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the said Act maintains that the bonds and other debt or investment instruments distributed by the government shall be denominated in Philippine peso, and shall be given in small amounts such as, but not limited to 5,000.
The National treasurer of the Philippines, in coordination with other involved government organizations, which include the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs as well as the Senate Committee on Labour, Employment, and Human Resources Development shall combine their efforts in structuring the IRR once the bill has been passed for enactment.
As of this writing, a technical working group (TWG) under the committee on overseas workers affairs is fine-tuning the aforementioned house bill.