The Philippines’ Congress has approved creation of the Maharlika Investment Fund, the Southeast Asian nation’s first sovereign wealth fund, which will have an initial size of US$8.9 billion.
Nearly all lawmakers voted for the Maharlika Investment Fund Act after third reading, according to a statement published on the website of the House of Representatives on May 31. Only one lawmaker objected.
“This is designed to promote economic development by making strategic and profitable investments in key sectors including public road networks,” House Speaker Ferdinan Martin Romualdez says in the statement.
The passage of the legislation comes seven months after it was introduced in the House of Representatives last November by Romualdez and Representative Sandro Marcos.
The initial version called for seed money for the Maharlika Investment Fund to come from four state-owned institutions, including the Government Service Insurance System, a pension fund for civil servants, and the Social Security System, a pension fund for private sector employees and self-employed.
But lawmakers were concerned that this would put retirement savings at risk in case of mismanagement, and the final version of the legislation states that the pension funds will not be required to contribute seed money.