Philippines to revise growth, other targets because of COVID-19: new NEDA chief


Posted at Apr 21 2020 09:36 PM

Philippines to revise growth, other targets because of COVID-19: new NEDA chief 1
People fall in line to buy goods at a public market in Mandaluyong City, April 14, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines will revise its economic targets in light of the damage being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the newly-appointed head of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Tuesday. 

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the government is now assessing the damage wrought by the outbreak on the economy. 

Chua said there are various projections on how deep the damage is and how fast the economy can recover, with some seeing a fast or V-shaped recovery, while others seeing a W-shaped recovery as a possible second wave of infections may trigger another slowdown. 

Other scenarios, Chua said, see that recovery was going to be slow until a vaccine for COVID-19 is discovered.

"It really depends on the kind of trajectory that we expect on the economy," Chua said. 

The government will also revise targets following the Philippine Statistics Authority's move to shift the base year for calculating macroeconomic figures to 2018 from 2000, he said. 

The new NEDA chief also said that it was premature to discuss stimulus plans as the government was still surveying economic losses caused by the new coronavirus. 

"Once we have an idea of the loss, the damage, the impact, then we will be able to craft a better stimulus plan."

He also said that the decision on whether to extend or lift the lockdown imposed over Luzon will be based on evidence. 

Chua said that the government may also revisit its flagship Build, Build, Build infrastructure projects to see which of them will have "maximum 
impact" on the economy.