Concepcion optimistic PH can hit 2022 growth targets
MANILA, Philippines — There is a high chance that the country would hit its economic growth targets of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent for 2022 especially if the economy performs well in the fourth quarter, Go Negosyo founder and entrepreneur Joey Concepcion said on Monday.
In an interview at the Laging Handa briefing, Concepcion said the last two months — November and December — would be crucial in terms of stimulating the economy, as high revenues were expected during the Christmas season.
“I think we can hit it, what’s important is the last two months […] so businesses are making improvements, more people are going out, our COVID-19 cases are under control like here in Cambodia, they are less restrictive with protocols, you can use the mask, you don’t need to use the mask,” he said in Pilipino.
“Asean is opening up, the Philippines is opening up, so we are seeing good numbers. We see from the last numbers that our GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate increased. So I am very confident that this coming Christmas — of course we have higher prices of raw materials but I think in the fourth quarter we will be able to hit our growth targets,” he added.
Last November 10, the government’s economic managers said that the 7.6 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter of 2022 is a good indication about possibly hitting targets set by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration.
During the first semester of the year, economic managers of the past administration projected an ambitious 7 percent to 9 percent GDP growth for 2022, but observers believe the government would miss the target.
One key difference from the earlier part of the year and the current trend, Concepcion said, is that the government now allows people to make decisions about their health — therefore minimizing COVID-19 restrictions and allowing movement which could help the economy.
“You know the beauty of the situation now is that the government is now giving the responsibility of health management back to the people, that is important. Before, the government was the one managing the health of the people, now it’s about time that we give it to the people,” he said.
“If they do not want to get vaccinated, it’s their choice. They should be aware of the risk. Number two, optional wearing of face masks except in function and in airlines […] in all the Asean countries, it is being implemented,” he added.
But Concepcion believes more relaxation of restrictions might be needed as the Asean region is a competitive market for tourism — noting that Southeast Asia would be a good target for US dollar holders since their currency is currently stronger.
“So we have to really move on and Asean countries, our fellow brothers are also moving on, we would be fighting in terms of tourism, like Thailand, Singapore, we all compete.. Tourism will benefit from this, and that’s what we’re pushing, they have loosened restrictions,” he explained.
“We are going to fight for the same market, Americans would come here because it would be cheaper, because here in Asia their dollar is stronger,” he added.
Supporters of the administration and other economic experts like Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda are positive that the government can even reach 8.0 percent GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2022, coming off a third quarter growth rate that was higher than the consensus.
According to Salceda, the Philippine economy is showing signs of exceptional strength despite external factors, although he warned that inflation remains a threat.
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