Neda warns against additional wage increases

Focus should be on employment generation, says Neda chief

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10:21 PM September 11th, 2013

By: Michelle V. Remo, September 11th, 2013 10:21 PM

The National Economic and Development Authority has warned against additional wage increases, saying it would be imprudent at the moment given efforts to bring down unemployment rate in the country.

Neda director general Arsenio Balisacan said any further increase in wages over the short term would drag efforts to create more jobs and reduce the jobless rate.

“We cannot afford to further raise wages at this time when the unemployment rate is still high. What should be done is to open more employment opportunities so that more people can find work,” Balisacan said.

Recent data showed the unemployment rate in the country rose to 7.3 percent in July from 7 percent in the same month last year. This was despite a robust economic growth during the period that made the Philippines one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

According to the Neda, jobs were created as the economy grew but the the rate of increase was slower than the expansion of the country’s labor force.

The wage board for the National Capital Region last week approved a P10 per day increase in the minimum wage in Metro Manila, raising the total to P466 per day.

Balisacan said the amount approved was meant to avoid eroding the purchasing power of the average household.

However, according to Balisacan, wage hikes at the moment run counter to efforts to reduce the unemployment rate.

He said any proposal to further raise wages over the short term should be shelved. He stressed the need to focus efforts on making the country more attractive to investors and on creating more jobs.

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