Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said over the weekend the government is keeping a fighting growth target of at least 6 percent this year to achieve President Rodrigo Duterte’s ultimate goal of reducing poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 and creating more opportunities for Filipinos.
Dominguez said the swift congressional approval of the remaining packages of the comprehensive tax reform program and other economic reform bills to further open up the domestic economy would be crucial for the Duterte administration to achieve its target of achieving high and inclusive growth and transforming the country into an upper-middle-income economy ahead of schedule.
Dominguez said a catch-up spending plan crafted for this year and the timely passage of the 2020 national budget would help the government achieve the 2019 gross domestic product growth target.
He expressed optimism that there wouldn’t be a repeat of the delay in the approval of the 2019 General Appropriations Act in light of the much better working relations this time between the executive and legislative departments.
The economy grew 5.5 percent in the first semester, below the target range of 6 percent to 7 percent for the whole year.
Dominguez said the slowdown was not surprising, given the five-month delay in the enactment of the 2019 GAA. The delay forced Malacañang to operate on a reenacted 2018 budget and hold off on the implementation of new and continuing projects that would have boosted growth in the first half.
Dominguez said to avoid a repeat of the 2019 budget delay, the leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives were meeting every month to monitor the progress on the budget and the 25 priority bills enumerated by President Duterte in his 4th State-of-the-Nation Address which include the four remaining CTRP packages.
Dominguez said that at the halfway point of President Duterte’s term, the economic team was more than ready to pursue further reforms, starting with the remaining CTRP packages, to enable the Philippines to secure an “A” credit rating within his presidency and achieve his goal of financial inclusion.
“The passage of the remaining tax reform packages and other economic reforms will help us secure the A-minus credit rating within the next two years and achieve our 14 percent poverty target by 2022,”
Dominguez said a meeting on Friday with congressional leaders, former Finance officials and economists at the Department of Finance office in Manila.
The lunch meeting was hosted by Dominguez to discuss the CTRP and the other proposed economic reforms of the Duterte administration.
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