Economist sees 4% economic growth

Published by rudy Date posted on April 28, 2009

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the global economic slowdown, the country can expect relatively brighter prospects this year in terms of economic growth and opportunities, according to a senior economist at the University of Asia and the Pacific.

At the general membership meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines, Bernardo M. Villegas noted that in the region, there may only be three countries that will have positive growth rates—Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

According to Villegas, the Philippine economy may even register a gross domestic product growth of 4.0 percent—contrary to forecasts and estimates made by multilateral agencies.

GDP is the value of goods produced and services rendered in an economy in a given period. It excludes remittances from overseas workers.

The government’s forecast is for a 3.1-percent growth this year in the face of a global economic downturn. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank expect the Philippines to grow 1.9 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

“It is not true that the GDP of the Philippines will grow by only 1.0 percent. I strongly disagree,” Villegas said.

One factor, according to Villegas, is the fact the Philippines has a population of some 90 million—a huge domestic market to sell to—even if exports drop by 30-40 percent.

“If you take a look, the ones who will dominate are countries that have at least 50 million people,” he added.

He also noted that multilateral agencies like the World Bank are using models—especially with regards to overseas workers—that are too generic.

“They look at the whole universe of overseas workers lumped together—Indians, Mexicans, Chinese and they are not taking into account that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are totally superior to overseas workers from other countries,” he said.

He explained that while foreign countries like Spain and the United Arab Emirates are sending home overseas workers, “they almost pleaded to Filipino workers to stay.”

“Why? Because they found out that Filipino workers are multi-skilled—they can go from one job to another, and the [multilateral agencies] are oblivious to this situation,” he explained. –Amy R. Remo, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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