SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Thursday said the nation could still attain its minimum economic growth target this year of six percent with the collaboration of the Marcos administration and the private sector.
He made the statement in reaction to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report that the economy grew by 5.9 percent in the third quarter of this year.
Speaker Romualdez said two factors would result in faster economic expansion in the last quarter – increased consumer spending during the Christmas season and yearend disbursements and project completion by government agencies.
“The government is the principal driver of growth. We expect state offices to ramp up project and program implementation and activities. Funds released to them are meant to be spent, not saved, though expenditures should comply with relevant accounting, auditing, transparency, and accountability regulations,” Speaker Romualdez, head of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives, said.
He said the House of Representatives would not hesitate to exercise its oversight power to check on the spending of agencies.
According to National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, the country’s 5.9-percent growth was the fastest among major emerging economies in Asia.
It was better than Vietnam’s 5.3 percent, China’s and Indonesia’s 4.9 percent, and Malaysia’s 3.3 percent.
Balisacan said growth in the first three quarters averaged 5.5 percent.
He said the country should expand by 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter for it to attain its minimum expansion goal of 6 percent for whole of 2023
“It’s a difficult challenge, but let’s do the most we can to hit the target. Let us not be distracted by political noise. Let’s continue supporting President BBM in achieving economic prosperity for our people,” Speaker Romualdez said.
He reminded everyone that the economy grew by 7.4 in the first six months of the Marcos administration – 7.6 percent and 7.2 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2022.
“So 7.2 percent is a fairly achievable goal. It’s not an impossible dream,” he said. (