The Philippine government has abandoned its goal to reach double-digit growth in the last year of the current administration amid the pandemic plaguing global economies.
This as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) announced that it was expecting the Philippine economy to settle between 6-7 percent in 2021, slightly lower than the 6.5-7.5 percent pegged last December.
It was also expecting next year’s growth to settle between 7-9 percent, or down from the ambitious 8-10 percent projected previously.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said that the economy still has to muster growth while possibly embracing various lockdowns throughout the year depending on the infection rate.
He said, however, that he does not see the same scale of lockdown measures imposed in 2020, hence they should allow for more businesses to continue albeit losses can still be incurred.
The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) for its part, said that it was counting on the vaccine rollout to prevent a repeat of last year’s lockdown that severely immobilized Metro Manila businesses and crippled over half of the country’s gross domestic product.
In addition, Chua said that contact tracing, which the government admitted to having been its weakest pandemic response, has gone “digital” for more than a year while the country experiences a health crisis.
The government has begun with its vaccination program earlier this year as soon as the first batch of Sinovac jabs arrived in the country.
So far, over 3 million doses had been administered, as against the government target to inoculate 70 million people to achieve herd immunity, which corresponds to only about 2 percent of that population receiving at least a dose of any vaccine.
Meanwhile, apart from GDP, economic managers similarly revised their macroeconomic assumptions and spending plans, with growth in 2023 seen to settle at 6-7 percent.