MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines can achieve its goal of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2024 if the current economic growth is sustained, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said Tuesday.
If not for the pandemic, the country could have achieved the milestone this year. COVID-19 slightly tempered the gains in poverty reduction as jobs and salaries were affected.
The administration also aims to reduce poverty incidence to single-digit or 9 percent by 2028.
"At the rate we’re going we should be reaching that minimum of $4,250 in 2024. By that time we will become a member of the upper middle income class," said Balisacan, who is also the current National Economic and Development Authority director-general.
According to the World Bank, an upper-middle-income country has a gross national income (GNI) per capita of between $4,096 and $12,695.
"It's so crucial that we’re able to grow quickly and sustain that growth because that’s the most sustainable way of reducing poverty," Balisacan said.
In his first State of the Nation Address, President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr said the country is expected to grow by 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2022 and up 8 percent in 2023 until 2028.
To sustain growth, Balisacan said the administration would implement a comprehensive 8-point economic agenda which includes addressing rising prices and the scarring from the COVID-19 pandemic and creating more jobs, among others.
According to an economics professor, the government has been pushing for the country to reach upper-middle-income status since 2018.
"They have been promising to reach that level every year," Dr. JC Punongbayan of UP School of Economics told ANC Tuesday.
"It has almost become an annual tradition for government technocrats."
While Marcos outlined a series of ambitious economic goals, Punongbayan asked how the new administration plans to achieve this.
"We wanted to hear more about how he intends to reach those targets. What policies must be laid down in order to reach those targets?" he said.