‘PHL must grow 5-5.5% in H2 to hit 2021 target’


THE country’s economy needs to grow by 5 to 5.5 percent in the second half of this year to hit the government’s full-year target of 4 to 5 percent, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

Finance Undersecretary and Chief Economist Gil Beltran said the country’s average economic growth for the first half of the year is at 3.7 percent, which he said is already “very close” to the government’s full-year goal.

“We should be growing by about 5 to 5.5 percent to attain the target because we are now at 3.8 percent. It should be a little above 5 percent to be able to hit the higher end of the target,” he told reporters in an interview.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has since  expressed confidence that the government can meet its downscaled economic growth target as the Philippine economy is expected to start opening up this fourth quarter.

However, he said they expect a lower economic growth for the third quarter compared to the previous quarter due to re-imposition of Covid-induced lockdowns.

Nonetheless, Dominguez said that the government’s goal now is to continue vaccinating the population, including adolescents.

The finance chief also said they have already ordered and financed 170 million doses of vaccines to cover the population.

“The immediate goal and the midterm goal is to remove the virus as a determinant of our growth. That is the immediate goal. The only way to do that is to vaccinate, we vaccinate everybody, from 12 years old up,” he said.

For his part, Foundation for Economic Freedom President Calixto Chikiamco said the feasibility of hitting the 4-5 percent economic growth target range would depend on whether the government decides to loosen up the mobility restrictions and when that will take place.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3 until November 14 to avoid a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases.

“Presidential adviser Joey Concepcion’s suggestions of including North America in the green lane, i.e. passengers need not be hotel -quarantined, and downgrading to Alert level 2 as soon as possible, are common sense suggestions that can help the economy reach the target of 4 to 5 percent.  But if the government will still insist on Alert level 3 and strict restrictions for travelers, economic momentum will stall,” Chikiamco told the BusinessMirror.

Earlier, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its growth forecast for the Philippines this year to beneath the low end of government’s target.

In the latest issue of the World Economic Outlook, the IMF now forecasts the Philippines to grow by 3.2 percent for 2021—down from the 5.4-percent forecast of the country’s GDP growth in July.

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