MANILA - Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua on Friday said the Philippines is “on track” to become an upper-middle-income country this year.
This is why the National Economic and Development Authority identified top priorities this year to accelerate economic growth and recovery, Chua said in a statement.
Gains in poverty reduction were temporarily slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chua earlier said.
“Our recent economic indicators show that the Philippines is on track to achieving an upper-middle income country status in 2022. NEDA proposes these top priorities form the foundation for the next administration so that we can further accelerate and sustain growth after we address the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
An upper-middle-income counttry has a gross national income (GNI) per capita between $4,096 and $12,695, according to the World Bank.
Among NEDA's top priorities for the year include smarter infrastructure, regional equity, innovation and climate change, Chua said.
“We have built a lot of infrastructure, but they can be smarter, more connected, more in line with urban planning and urbanization, and with networks that improve the travel experience of people. So, in the coming months, NEDA will propose a policy that will promote a more coordinated master planning,” he said.
The NEDA is also pushing for "regional equity" in terms of project distribution as well as budget allocation, Chua added.
There should be a unique project ID so that it would be easier to evaluate, identify and assess completion, he said.
Innovation, meanwhile, will play a key role in allowing the country to sustain its growth. But human development and innovation should also apply in other sectors such as agriculture and fisheries which are among the country's engines for growth, Chua said.
NEDA also underscored the importance of mitigating climate change.
Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.6 percent in 2021, overshooting the government target of 5 to 5.5 percent. It contracted by 9.6 percent the previous year.