Credit to Author: Tempo Desk| Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2019 09:00:38 +0000
The country’s economic growth slowed to 6.2 percent in 2018 from 6.7 percent the previous year, short of the already scaled down 6.5 to 6.9 percent target adopted by the government and the lowest annual expansion in the last three years, the Philippine Statistical Authority reported Thursday.
The country’s Gross Domestic Product growth was 6.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Despite this growth slowdown, the Duterte administration is still serious in “aspiring” for a seven to eight percent growth for this year, which will be backed by its massive infrastructure program known as “Build, Build, Build” as well as efforts to improve the investment climate in the country, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia said.
This means the average GDP growth per quarter starting the January-March period should not fall below seven percent, unless an extraordinary recovery or growth is recorded in one or two quarters, he said.
Last year, GDP growth per quarter averaged around 6.1 to 6.6 percent.
“The seven to eight percent is an aspiration. No administration has yet achieved that kind of economic growth over time. Maybe in a span of one or two years that was achieved, but not on a sustained manner,” Pernia said.
He said the economy “has remained stable” while also blaming the slowdown to the sluggish growth of agriculture and manufacturing sector.
It was also reported that the country’s agriculture sector crawled to a one percent growth in 2018, way slower than the four percent growth it had in 2017.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol attributed this to the damage the farm sector has incurred from several tropical cyclones, including typhoon “Ompong” (international name “Mangkhut”) as well as the lack of budget.
Pernia said that had the Department of Agriculture executed the importation of more rice and other agriculture products immediately after it was told to do so, it could have been “beneficial” to the overall growth of the Philippine economy. (Madeleine Miraflor)