May 24, 2024

The Insider News

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Gov’t focusing on taming inflation, producing quality jobs to attain 2023 growth target—NEDA chief

THE Marcos administration will focus on taming inflation and attracting more foreign investments to produce quality jobs for Filipinos aside from boosting government spending to attain its growth target this year, the country’s socioeconomic planning secretary said on Wednesday.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio Balisacan made the remarks when asked during a Palace press briefing on the administration’s thrust to achieve its gross domestic product (GDP) target for 2023.

The government reported that underspending resulted in slower growth and also announced fast-tracking state projects to boost spending.

“I think (we are making) progress in slowing down of inflation. Inflation has always been a major concern because when inflation, high inflation, persists, that discourages or depresses domestic demand,” Balisacan said.

“As we have seen, we have made significant progress since January of this year in slowing down inflation and we would want to continue moving in that direction. And we do that, if we succeed in that, that will be a big boost to our domestic demand and to our growth.”

At the same time, the administration has been watching agencies and putting pressure on them to make sure that they are progressing particularly those that impact on ease of doing business, he said.

“Remember that our goal… that what we need, first and foremost, is massive investment to improve the quality of jobs. Because, as an economist looking at the problem, it’s not so much already anymore the jobs per se that are the problems, but the quality of the jobs that are there.”

“And, of course, we need nothing less than investment not just in the public sector but, even more importantly, in the private sector that makes that improvement and the quality of jobs possible.”

Asked about the downside risks of attaining that target, Balisacan pointed to inflation as a major risk especially with the oil prices peaking up again, as well as rice prices which have been rising.

The administration, he said, is positioning to ensure further slowdown in inflation amid these developments and also see to it that is in good command of its policy tools.

“For example, looking at enhancing the availability of stocks so that we can prevent untoward increases or upward pressure in prices in the near term,” the NEDA chief said.

He also said that by addressing the issues that the government has identified, it could still achieve, at least, the lower end of the range of 6 to 7 percent growth.

The country needs to grow 6.6 percent in the second half to achieve 6 percent growth for the full year, Balisacan said.