Unspent money, vaccination program seen to 'perk up' economy: BSP Gov. Diokno

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2021 03:57 PM

Unspent money, vaccination program seen to 'perk up' economy: BSP Gov. Diokno 1
Senior citizens take their jab of the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca inside the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Church in Quezon City Friday. The local parish partnered with the Quezon City government to augment the current vaccination sites in the city metro. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Unspent money and the government's vaccination plan could stimulate economic activities, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said Monday. 

When asked if the P401 billion Bayanihan 3 bill will suffice to boost the economy, Diokno said "there’s still a lot of money floating around unspent."

These include funds from the Bayanihan 2 and the BSP-approved loans for local government units amounting to P60 billion in 2020 and P30 billion in Q1 of 2021.

Lawmakers are also set to start discussing the 2022 budget by July, he said.

"That’s a lot of money. That’s leading indicators that more money will flow to local government this year and next year," Diokno said.

"On top of that, I think really the focus of the government right now is still the vaccination. That’s the best way to perk up the economy, because the vaccination, that will of course lead to more economic activities," he added.

The Philippines aims to inoculate at least 58 million by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus. It has so far administered 5.1 million doses, as of May 30.

Inflation, meanwhile, is likely to settle at 3.9 percent this year and 3 percent next year, within the government target band of 2 to 4 percent due to improved weather conditions, lower tariff on pork and other interventions, said Diokno.

"Further adjustments" in monetary policy could happen "maybe in the second half next year" when the economy is on its way to sustainable economy.

The BSP in May kept key interest rates unchanged at its record low of 2 percent to support the economy.

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