MANILA - Ayala Corp Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, one of the country's top business leaders, said Friday the Philippine economy would likely recover to pre-pandemic levels by the fourth quarter of 2022.
In a virtual event hosted by the Shareholders' Association of the Philippines, Zobel said he expects the Philippines to be one of the last to emerge from the pandemic among its Southeast Asian peers, as consumption drives most of domestic activity.
"I think this recovery will be very gradual and will be uneven, I think that's the reality that we will all have to face," Zobel said.
Zobel called on both the public and private sectors to help in ramping up investments than relying on consumer spending.
His sentiment stemmed from the forecast of Moody's Investors Service that the Philippines and India would be laggards in restoring economic activity to their pre-pandemic performance.
"We've always relied on consumption-led growth, I think this is the time for all of us to do what we can to encourage investments and make it a possible driver in rebooting our economy," he said.
Despite tempered growth, the Ayala chairman is optimistic for 2021 as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will start.
"The rollout of vaccines in various countries and of course our own preparations for large-scale inoculation will certainly open several doors to recovery and I have absolutely no doubt of the eventual growth," Zobel said.
The Philippine economy shrank 11.5 percent in the third quarter of last year and contracted 9.5 percent for the whole year of 2020 due to slower economic activity restricted pandemic quarantines.
Ayala Corp earlier announced that it would hike its capital expenditures by 16 percent to P182 billion in 2021 in a bid to invest more and create jobs.
The conglomerate will also buy 450,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and donate half of it to the government.