Economic managers set review of macro targets

By VG Cabuag, Business Mirror

Posted at Jan 19 2011 11:29 PM | Updated as of Jan 20 2011 07:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Government economic managers are set to review the Philippine macroeconomic targets for this year, taking into account the possibility of a slowdown in the country because there will be no election in the next 2 years.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) will meet next week to determine if there is a need to revise the economic targets for 2011, which were all set by the previous government.

Among the list of topics to be discussed, in addition to the no-elections factor, is the question of whether the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) initiative could spur further economic growth, Abad said.

“There should be a return to basics as we are facing no elections this year. And we all know that elections play an integral role in spurring economic activities,” said Abad at the sidelines of the celebration of the 65th founding anniversary of the Liberal Party.

He said, however, that with the PPP initiative, the government is optimistic in sustaining a robust economy.

According to current targets, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) may grow between 7% and 8% this year. The government is, likewise, looking at a lower fiscal deficit this year at P290 billion from the P325 billion of 2010.

The current macroeconomic assumption also determines how much revenue-collecting agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) should collect. For this year the BIR and BOC are tasked to raise P940 billion and P320 billion, respectively. The combined collection of both agencies accounts for more than 95% of government revenues.

The BOC has reported a P30-billion shortfall in its target collection of P280.68 billion for 2010, while the BIR is also expected to report a collection deficit for 2010 as against its target of P860 billion when it issues its report. ?

DBCC agencies include the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, National Economic and Development Authority and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.