‘Upper middle-income’ PH possible by end-2019, says NEDA | Inquirer Business

‘Upper middle-income’ PH possible by end-2019, says NEDA

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:17 PM April 03, 2018

The Philippines is poised to move up to upper middle-income status as early as 2019 amid sustained robust growth, the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said.

“The strong economic growth performance of the country in 2017 enabled us to achieve gross national income [GNI] per capita growth rate of 4.8 percent, higher than the target of 4.5 percent. This would make it possible for us to reach the upper middle-income country standard definition of just below $4,000 income per capita by end-2019,” Neda said in its Socioeconomic Report 2017 launched on Tuesday.

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To compare, the GNI per capita growth rate in 2015 was 4.1 percent.

The Philippine economy grew 6.7 percent in 2017, among the fastest in Asia.

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As of 2016, the Philippines’ income per capita stood at about $3,500, hence considered a lower middle-income country.

The 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan (PDP) – the medium-term socioeconomic blueprint of the Duterte administration – targets a higher GNI per capita growth rate of 5 percent this 2018 year and 2019.

“Actually, the target for the PDP is that we will be an upper middle-income country by 2022. But we think we will get to that status much, much earlier,” Neda Undersecretary and officer-in-charge Rosemarie G. Edillon told a press conference.

“We also looked at the performance of the economy last year, where our gross national income increased by 6.5 percent—that’s really a very high growth path. And if I’m not mistaken, the threshold for the upper middle-income country is $4,100. So I think we will breach that as early as next year,” Edillon added.

Edillon said the government’s massive “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program “will really propel our economic growth rate even faster and we’ll reach that upper middle-income status.”

Under “Build, Build, Build,” the government plans to rollout 75 flagship, “game-changing” projects, with about half targeted to be finished within President Duterte’s term, alongside spending a total of over P8 trillion on hard and modern infrastructure until 2022 to usher in the “golden age of infrastructure.”

The government targets a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7-8 percent this year.

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“The implication for that is, it means our vision of being a high-income country by 2040 is really within reach. The challenge is making sure that this growth is really inclusive, that this one really lifts everybody up,” according to Edillon, referring to the long-term vision dubbed “AmBisyon Natin 2040.”

Launched in 2016, AmBisyon Natin 2040 was aimed at tripling Filipinos’ per capita income to $11,000 in 24 years’ time by sustaining at least 6.5-percent annual GDP growth along with the implementation of policies that would make the Philippines a high-income country by 2040.                          /kga

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TAGS: Business, economy, Philippines, upper middle-income
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