BAGUIO CITY – Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia disclosed that the country’s economy grew by 6.2 percent last year although it is lower than the projected 6.5-6.9 percent growth.
“The Philippines continues to be among the best performing major economies in the region,” Secretary Pernia stressed.
He added that the Philippine economy has been on a roll wherein it has been growing by at least 6 percent for 15 consecutive quarters now and it is the strongest economic growth that experts had seen since the mid-1970s.
Despite external and domestic headwinds last year, the NEDA chief pointed out the Philippine economy became stronger and even more resilient than ever.
Pernia claimed regional development remains the administration’s major thrust considering that all 17 regions posted positive economic growth in 2017 while figures for last year’s economic performance in a regional basis will still be available in the next 2 months.
He admitted that 2018 was not easy for the country because of domestic problems such as the onslaught of natural calamities and external problems, particularly the trade war between China and the United Sates (US), the stabilization of the interest in developed countries among other related issues while 2019 will not be bereft of challenges considering the expected slowdown of global economic growth aggravated by the expected slowdown of China’s economy among other prevailing reasons.
According to him, the country’s goods exports growth has yet to rebound from its disappointing performance and the low exports growth may continue in the next quarters unless the government will ramp up the implementation of the Philippine Export Development Plan 2018-2022.
Secretary Pernia expressed confidence that the resilience of the Philippine economy will likely continue this year because of the strong domestic demand coupled by the expected pick up of household consumption in the next quarters while inflation is expected to ease this year.
Further, he underscored that to some extent, the mid-term election could also drive the growth in public spending, particularly for the first half of this year which will be supported by the governments ‘build, build, build’ program gaining steam this year.
“We also expected projects of regional significance to be included in line agency budgets for implementation,” Secretary Pernia stated after the signing of an agreement between NEDA and the budget department strengthening the link between national planning and budgeting with those of the regions.
Even with key reforms scored last year such as the Ease of Doing Business Act and the Philippine Identification system Act, Pernia assured that the government will continue to press for reforms in the coming years as laid out in the Philippine Development Plan.
Among the proposed reforms include the amendment of the Public Service Act, and the National Land Use Act for the realization of the matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay para sa lahat be at the center of all actions.
By Dexter A. See