Phl keeps 7-8% growth target

Published by rudy Date posted on March 30, 2011

MANILA, Philippines –  The Philippines is keeping this year’s target of a seven percent to eight percent growth despite uncertainties in the Middle East and Japan, the country’s socioeconomic chief said yesterday.

“It’s a fighting target,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Caye-tano Paderanga Jr. told reporters.

Paderanga stressed the government’s official position to meet the target even as some government officials are saying that the interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) may adjust downward the economic growth target for the year.

At the same time, Paderanga conceded that it would be difficult to meet the target given the impact of developments in the Middle East and in Japan.

He said the government would focus on developing the country’s strong sectors to help achieve the target. These include the business process outsourcing sectors, tourism and the call center industry.

The recovery of the agriculture sector now that the El Niño weather condition is over would also help boost growth, Paderanga added.

Earlier, the interagency DBCC met to assess the impact of the March 11 earthquake in Japan on the country as well as the ongoing global uncertainties in the Middle East.

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad, who co-chairs the DBCC along with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, has identified the political crisis in the Middle East as the biggest source of risk on the economy.

The World Bank has said that the damage caused by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan could reach $235 billion.

Last year, the economy grew by 7.3 percent, the highest growth recorded in 34 years.

Paderanga also said the Aquino administration hopes to achieve an annual growth rate of seven percent to eight percent in the next six years.

Along this line, the NEDA board has approved the Philippine Development Plan from 2011 to 2016.

Under the plan, the government would boost competitiveness to generate employment, improve access to financing, invest massively in physical infrastructure, promote transparent and responsive governance and develop human resources through improved social services.

“To achieve inclusive growth, the country needs to achieve a high and sustained growth path, provide equal access to development opportunities across social spectrums and implement responsive social safety nets that would assist those who are left behind by the character of growth,” Paderanga said. –Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)

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