MANILA (Mabuhay) — The second-quarter performance of the Philippine economy puts the country on track to meet government targets for this year and the next, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Thursday.
“The numbers are good for the Duterte government to hit its growth targets of at least seven percent this year’s second semester and 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2017,” Dominguez said in an emailed statement.
He was responding to the seven-percent economic growth noted during the second quarter, the fastest pace registered since the 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The Duterte administration has set a gross domestic product (GDP) target of six to seven percent for this year, revising the Aquino administration’s 6.8 to 7.8 percent projected in February.
“We aim to sustain and even boost this strong growth momentum by accelerating spending on infrastructure investing heavily in human capital, along with overhauling the tax system and rationalizing fiscal incentives to further stimulate the economy,” Dominguez said.
This comes after the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) in July said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte plans to increase infrastructure spending to 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) also last week rolled out its 24/7 construction scheme to fast-track infrastructure development.
Meanwhile, the Department of Finance (DOF) last month said that a comprehensive tax reform package is scheduled to be submitted to Congress by September] after Duterte in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) said he supports the lowering of income tax rates.
Still, Dominguez said that the country has a long way to go.
“But we still have a big task ahead of us to lower the poverty rate that have been stuck at 26 percent of our population,” he said, noting that the Reproductive Health Law is expected to be fully implemented under the Duterte administration.
To recall, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia in July said that Duterte was a family planning advocate.
“We expect to continue this growth trajectory but with a difference from the previous administration because we will be reducing poverty rates,” Dominguez said.
He, however, said that the acceleration in investments would come with “fiscal prudence.”
“(O)ur planned investment acceleration to foster growth and disperse income will be matched by fiscal prudence as we set deficit spending to 3 percent of GDP,” Dominguez said. (MNS)