by Louise Maureen Simeon – The Philippine Star, 27 Aug 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine economy will have to wait until late next year to see a return to its pre-crisis levels as the pandemic continues to put a drag on the country’s much-needed rebound.
During deliberations in Congress for the P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua maintained that prospects for the year remain encouraging.
This was despite Duterte’s economic team slashing its economic growth forecast for the second time around.
“This will allow us to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, if not early 2023,” Chua said. “This will prevent long-term scarring and productivity losses.”
This year, gross domestic product (GDP) is seen growing four to five percent, further increasing to seven to nine percent by 2022 and back to its pre-pandemic level of six to seven percent by 2023 and 2024.
Chua maintained that economic recovery would greatly depend on the COVID vaccination program and safe reopening of the economy while adhering to protocols, and the full implementation of recovery packages.
It would also get a boost from next year’s record high budget, the Build Build Build infrastructure program, and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act on lowering taxes and granting performance-based and targeted tax incentives.
The government is also banking on the passage of the amendments to the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act and the Foreign Investments Act.
Other key legislative measures targeted to be passed before the year ends will also support recovery, including the bill establishing a tax regime for Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) and the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act.
Also included are the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act and Valuation Reform Bill, which are the third and fourth packages of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program.
Completing these measures are the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines bill, Rural Agricultural and Fisheries Development Financing Systems Act and the Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Bill.