The Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) is bullish that the country will maintain its high economic growth in 2017 despite the political noise during the first six months of the Duterte administration.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government is optimistic that the country’s economic growth remained “on the upswing on the back of rock-solid macroeconomic fundamentals.”
“This means there will be no letup in the Duterte administration’s commitment to spending big on urban and rural infrastructure as a growth driver, to guarantee sustained high and inclusive growth,” Dominguez said in a statement.
The Philippine government said it is expecting the economy to grow between 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent in 2017.
“So if we manage to grow by 7 percent, we become the fastest-growing country in the fastest-growing region in the world and that’s an honor, right? And that would be an accomplishment,” Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno told reporters.
The DOF said credit raters and other international institutions, such as S&P Global, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), also share this rosy economic outlook on the Philippines.
S&P Global Ratings forecasted the Philippine economy to grow 6.7 percent in 2017. ADB, on the other hand, expects a 6.8 percent growth rate while the IMF projects about 6.4 percent.
According to Dominguez, the Duterte administration is committed to pursuing an accelerated spending program to sustain the country’s economic momentum.
This, he said, would also help spread the benefits of growth to all sectors across the country by providing more jobs and better living standards.
Likewise, he added that the government is also focused on seeking congressional approval of its proposed comprehensive tax reform program.
The tax reform program, according to Dominguez, will “ensure the financial sustainability of the government’s unparalleled spending on infrastructure, human capital and social protection for the country’s most vulnerable sectors.”
Dominguez said the government will also maintain its focus on other urgent measures such as fully implementing the Reproductive Health (RH) Law, modernizing agriculture to pull down food prices while increasing farmers’ incomes, and leveling the playing field for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs).