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NEDA: Economic growth alone won’t solve poverty, unemployment

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Tuesday acknowledged that impressive economic growth of the Philippines for five consecutive quarters is not enough to combat the problems of unemployment and poverty, citing the need of other factors to help trickle down the economic boom.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said that the revival of manufacturing and the creation of new drivers of growth should partner with investment in human capital, infrastructure and logistics development.

In a live streamed year-end media briefing for 2013, Balicasan admitted that the country is yet to achieve a rapid growth. He said the challenge is to make these economic developments stable and improve the economic capacity to generate jobs for the people.

The Philippine economy has been dependent on personal consumption and less on trade, he said, stressing that the government is now doing efforts to make the economy driven by investments.

“Structural transformation is necessary, that is, to manoeuvre the economy from one that is household consumption-driven, fuelled by remittances, to one that is increasingly investment-led and employment-oriented,” he said.

The government should also fast track the infrastructure spending in the country, especially in Eastern Visayas, he said. The national government has allocated billions of funds for the Yolanda-affected areas in Visayas for rehabilitation and reconstruction of facilities that were destroyed by the monster typhoon.

The Department of Budget and Management on Monday reported the spending on public infrastructure rose by 25.6 percent in the first 10 months of 2013. But it is still below the three percent of country’s Gross Domestic Product, while Asian neighbor countries allocated 5 percent of the GDP for infrastructure.

The NEDA is maintaining its growth target of 6 to 7 percent despite the heavy damage brought by super typhoon “Yolanda” and the 7.2-mangitude earthquake in Visayas.

He said these calamities have confirmed the need to have a strong disaster risk reduction and management program to mitigate its impact on the economy that later affected employment.

However, Balicasan admitted that these calamities have affected the economic growth of the country, which could have achieved 7.3 to 7.5 percent growth. The latest power rate hikes starting this month of December will also affect the country’s economic growth and will have an impact on the purchasing power of the public.

In 2014, NEDA forecast growth to be in the 6.5 to 7.5 percent range.

He said these calamities have confirmed the need to have a strong disaster risk reduction and management program to mitigate its impact on the economy that later affected employment.

  • JD Cruz

    Create massive employment jobs, equalize career and business oppotunities to all. Put to prison those rich tycoons and taipans for tax evasion. Reduce if not totally eradicate the monopolies. Cut the heads of corrupt politicians and their cohorts, gambling and drug lords alike. Enrich the farmers and agriculture sector to power-up local, provincial and regional economy. Otherwise declare Martial Law without cronies and military abuses and total cleansing of bureaucracy. Otherwise let Lee Kuan Yu be the President of the Philippines! LOL!

  • Ros Feliciano

    The truth is, given the a 8% GDP for the next three consecutive quarters, still the Philippines will not be able to significantly lower down poverty incidence, and unemployment. This is because the mentality of the rich people is to be richer and so the poor become poorer. If no one believes me, take the example of Meralco, the millionaires and other countless examples.