NEDA targets lower 2022 growth rate than DBCC forecast

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2021 12:05 PM | Updated as of Feb 04 2021 02:39 PM

NEDA targets lower 2022 growth rate than DBCC forecast 1

MANILA (UPDATE 2) - The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Thursday updated its growth target to 6.5 to 7.5 percent next year, which was lower than the 8 to 10 percent growth forecast announced last year by government economic managers in the cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

The 2022 target range was also lower than the average 7 to 8 percent growth target for the medium term set in the original 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan (PDP), the country’s growth blueprint.

NEDA targets lower 2022 growth rate than DBCC forecast 2

The growth target for 2021 meanwhile remains at 6.5 to 7.5 percent, NEDA said, as it presented revisions to the 2017-2022 PDP amid the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis. 

NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon meanwhile said the country may still post a higher growth rate than the updated 2022 target and meet the numbers announced last year by the DBCC.

"We think that we can actually surpass that target. We have come up with this target early on as we were updating the PDP. But given recent developments we are setting, we at the DBCC, we are setting for ourselves a higher target, and we think... that we can grow much faster than the original PDP," Edillon said. 

With less than 18 months left in President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, NEDA said the country will focus on recovery and developing resiliency. 

Under the updated PDP, NEDA also revised its poverty incidence target to 15.5 to 17.5 percent from the 13 to 15 percent it previously set.

NEDA kept the 2 to 4 percent target for inflation this year, and the 7 to 9 percent unemployment rate for this year and next year.

The updated PDP also added focus on overseas Filipino workers, enhancing programs for their eventual re-integration locally after around 400,000 OFWs were repatriated due to COVID-19.

Acting Socioeconomic Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the revisions stemmed from the country's slow reopening, as the government had "to take a step back" from further reopening the economy due to the new COVID-19 variant that emerged.

"Once we are more confident that we can manage it better as we did in previous cases, then the President will be able to make the next decision on when we can reopen the economy further," he said.

When asked about President Duterte's sentiments, Chua said that the president and the Cabinet are "very concerned", saying they are looking to "find a better balance" between health and economic decisions moving forward.

President Duterte earlier said the Philippines was losing P2 billion a day due to COVID-19.

"We know that all policies have trade-offs -- and the trade-off of people being less susceptible to infection is by having the quarantines, and this prevents other healthy people from participating in the economy. We are very concerned and we will look at both health and economic data to inform us on our next course of action," Chua said.

The Philippines' gross domestic product contracted 9.5 percent in 2020, the worst contraction since the end of World War 2.

- With reports from Bruce Rodriguez and Nika Lazo, ABS-CBN News

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