Economic managers have reduced their target of the country’s gross domestic product this year from 6.5-7.5 percent to 6-7 percent due partly to the enhanced community quarantine from March 27 to April 11 in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus.
In a virtual briefing after the meeting of the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee Tuesday, Budget and Management Secretary and DBCC chair, Wendel Avisado, said the impact of the increase in Covid-19 variants has also been factored in the reduction in the GDP target for this year.
Avisado said DBCC members also expect economic growth next year to improve to between 7-9 percent and return to the pre-pandemic level of 6-7 percent in 2023 and 2024.
In the first quarter this year, GDP posted a 4.2-percent contraction, an improvement from the -8.3 percent in the previous quarter but weaker than the 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020.
Avisado said the new growth targets were approved by economic managers, taking into account the first-quarter domestic output.
These interventions are the strengthened implementation of the prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and recover strategy, and full vaccination of people in highest risk areas, like the NCR, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite or the NCR Plus, Pampanga, Cebu City, and Davao City.
These also include cut in the timeframe for the detection and isolation of Covid-19 positive cases from seven to five days, and the eventual Congress’ approval of the proposed P170 billion worth of supplementation social protection financing for those who are greatly affected by the pandemic and to fund the improvement of health protocols.
Spending program was also increased from P4.66 trillion to P4.74 trillion while it is seen to rise to P4.95 trillion next year, to P5.11 trillion in 2023, and 5.4 trillion in 2024 amid the higher requirements caused by the pandemic.
Avisado said funds for the proposed Growth Equity Fund, based on the Supreme Court decision on the Mandanas-Garcia case, were incorporated in the spending program until 2024.
The SC’s ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia petition provides for higher resources for local government units since funding for LGUs’ internal revenue allotment share should come from national taxes and not just the national internal revenue taxes.*PNA