Second year of slowing growth a wake-up call – IBON

Features Philippines Feb 8, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Ekonomiya2019-848x478Research group IBON said that the second year of slowing growth under the Duterte administration should be enough to jolt it out of its complacency and denial. The downturn in the last two years and the poor prospects in the year to come should be a wake-up call to start to undertake the difficult but necessary reforms for genuinely inclusive growth and national development.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a 6.2% annual growth in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for 2018, lower than government’s revised growth target of 6.5-6.9% for the year. Government cited slowing agriculture and high inflation as among the main factors pulling back growth, while the main drivers were growth in construction, and trade and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles, personal and household goods.

“Growth is slowing most of all because of the economy’s unsound fundamentals in backward agriculture and shallow industry,” said Sonny Africa, IBON executive director.

The agriculture sector registered just 0.8% growth in 2018 from 4% in 2017. This is the sector’s worst performance since its contraction in 2016. Yet, Africa said, the administration seems to have little interest in reversing this trend. For example, the Php49.3 billion agriculture department budget for 2019 proposed by Congress is Php1.4 billion less than the Php50.7 billion in 2018 (in equivalent cash-based terms).

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