Gov’t maintains 6% GDP growth target for 2019, says Dominguez
MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration is maintaining its “fighting target” for gross domestic product growth of 6% or above this year to keep on track the President’s goals of lowering poverty incidence to 14% by 2022 and creating more economic opportunities for Filipinos.
Thus said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who added that the swift congressional approval of the remaining packages of the comprehensive tax reform program and other economic reform bills would be crucial for achieving high and inclusive growth.
On keeping the full-year economic expansion target, Dominguez said a catch-up spending plan crafted for this year and the timely passage of the 2020 national budget would help the government achieve this, as he expressed optimism that there wouldn’t be a repeat of the delay in the approval of the budget, given improved working relations between the executive and legislative branches of government.
Economic growth settled at only 5.5% in the first half of 2019, which Dominguez said was not surprising, given the five-month delay in the enactment of the 2019 national budget.
To avoid a repeat of last year’s delay, Dominguez said the leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives had been meeting every month to monitor the progress on the budget and the 25 priority bills enumerated by President Rodrigo Duterte in his fourth State of the Nation Address, which include the four remaining tax reform packages.
“The passage of the remaining tax reform packages and other economic reforms will help us secure the A-minus credit rating within the next two years and achieve our 14% poverty target by 2022,” Dominguez said during his meeting with congressional leaders, former finance officials and economists at the Department of Finance office in Manila last Friday.
“There is reason to believe that the winds are in our favor and the stars all aligned, or as the naval prose goes, here we have fair winds and following seas,” he added.
Present at the meeting were former Prime Minister Cesar Virata; Sen. Pia Cayetano, the chair of the Senate ways and means committee; Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, the chair of the House ways and means committee; former Sen. Alberto Romulo, who also served as finance secretary; former Finance Secretary Margarito Teves; and former Finance Secretary Roberto De Ocampo.
Also present were former Finance Secretary Jose Isidro Camacho; former National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Cielito Habito; former NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan; and former Finance Undersecretary Romeo Bernardo.