Duterte men woo credit watchers to PH side
In a bid to stave off possible repercussions from political news hogging even foreign headlines, economic managers would be meeting with credit risk watchers to prove the country’s economic growth was bigger news.
Economic managers attending this week’s spring meetings of multilateral lenders International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were set to meet with officials of credit rating agencies to assure them that the Philippines was poised to sustain robust economic growth.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters that during their scheduled meetings with the top global debt watchers in Washington, “we will, of course, highlight the positive tidings and the good plans moving forward.”
The Philippines currently enjoys investment grade credit ratings from the top debt watchers Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s.
Credit ratings are a measure of a government’s credit-worthiness. As the stability of state finances is also related to a country’s performance, credit scores serve as a proxy grade for the economy.
Early this week, economic managers unveiled the administration’s so-called “DuterteNomics” of “Build, Build, Build” that they claimed would usher in a “golden age of infrastructure.”
A total of P8.4 trillion would be spent by the Duterte administration in the next six years to build vital infrastructure. The goal is to bring to 7.4 percent the share of infrastructure expenditures to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022 from a 5.4 percent this year.
The government plans to roll out over P3.6 trillion worth of infrastructure projects from 2018 until 2020 while also jacking up to 75 from 55 previously the number of flagship projects that the administration aims to complete before President Duterte steps down in 2022.
Considered a firebrand by many, the President’s management style—including his unrepentant war on drugs—has been a cause for worry for many investors.
Pernia, who heads state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), earlier said he expected the GDP to have grown by 7 percent during the first quarter.
Pernia said he would be joined by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr., Finance Undersecretary and chief economist Gil S. Beltran and Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan at the meetings with the credit rating agencies.
Beltran said they wanted the game-changing credit risk watchers to know that “the Philippine economy has been very resilient, growing at over 6 percent during periods of distress in our major trading partners.” Last year, the GDP expanded by 6.9 percent, among the fastest in the region.