MANILA - One of the country's economic managers said economic growth in the first three months of the year was likely to have slowed because of the delay in passing the 2019 national budget.
As the Senate sent the 2019 budget bill to President Rodrigo Duterte for signing, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a statement that "Q1 growth rate already likely to be trimmed.”
Pernia had earlier warned that the budget impasse was delaying infrastructure projects and social services such as cash transfers and aid for public transport drivers.
He said that growth could slow to 6.1 to 6.3 percent if the reenacted budget lasts until April and to 4.9 to 5.1 percent if it extends to August.
The government is targeting an economic growth of 7-8 percent this year.
This was the same growth target in 2018, but the economy managed to grow just 6.2 percent last year amid quickening inflation and high interest rates.
Pernia noted that the delays in passing the Budget bill "did not result in a major change in the budget — which time could have been used by the President to consider needed revisions, e.g., for line budget item vetoes."
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he has signed the P3.7-trillion national budget but with "strong reservations" over the alleged realignment of certain items. He urged President Duterte to veto these items.