Other Gulf states express interest in Maharlika

Helen Flores – The Philippine Star

October 22, 2023 | 12:00am

RIYADH – Aside from Saudi Arabia, other countries in the Gulf region have signified interest in the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), according to President Marcos.

In an interview with the Philippine media delegation at the InterContinental Hotel here early Saturday (Manila time), Marcos said he is “encouraged” by the the positive response not only of Saudi Arabia, but also of other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to his invitation for them to invest in the MIF.

Marcos and the other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations met with GCC leaders here on Friday for the inaugural ASEAN-GCC Summit aimed at strengthening ties and cooperation between the two regional groupings.

GCC members include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; while Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam compose the ASEAN.

“We introduced to them the Maharlika Investment Fund, and that was, that has proceeded very quickly and we have gone into, we have already started, we detailed talks with their PIF (Public Investment Fund), which is the equivalent here in Saudi Arabia. It is their investment fund and how we can do it, how we can work together,” Marcos said.

Malacañang earlier said two of Saudi’s largest financial institutions – the PIF of Saudi Arabia and Jada – are considering putting money into the MIF, the Philippines’ first sovereign wealth fund.

PIF is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, while Jada was established by the PIF with nearly $1 billion in capital.

“And it is not only Saudi Arabia, it is also other Gulf countries who have expressed an interest. And I am very encouraged and quite happy by the fact that the reaction that we got from our partners in Saudi Arabia and in other countries has been very, very encouraging and they really want to have, to help and invest in the (MIF) because they really see it as a good investment,” Marcos said partly in Filipino.

The President, however, did not mention the other Gulf states that express interest in the MIF.

The Chief Executive believes the MIF would get the interest of more foreign investors once it becomes operational.

“I’m confident that once we get it operationalized, once we are able to start talking in detail with not only the investment funds but even private corporations and other governments as well, and that is, that is precisely the role that we have envisioned for, for the sovereign fund, the Maharlika Fund. And that is the direction that it has taken,” he said.

Marcos has suspended the rollout of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11954 or the Maharlika Investment Fund Act of 2023.

The President on Thursday said the implementation of the MIF was not put on hold contrary to reports, as the measure is just “being improved” to make it “as close to perfect and ideal as possible.”

Malacañang earlier released a copy of the memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin for the President suspending the implementation of the IRR of RA 11954.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who was part of Marcos’ delegation on the Saudi two-day visit, earlier said the MIF would be fully operational by the end of the year.

RA 11954, signed by Marcos in July, creates the Maharlika Investments Corp. designed to be the sole vehicle for mobilizing and utilizing the MIF for investments.

The MIC is expected to have at least P75 billion in paid-up capital this year, with P50 billion sourced from the Land Bank of the Philippines and P25 billion from the Development Bank of the Philippines.

The Fund will be invested in a wide range of assets, including foreign currencies, fixed-income instruments, domestic and foreign corporate bonds, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and high-impact infrastructure projects.


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