By Monsi A. Serrano
As the global economy would inevitably succumb to recession this 2020 due to the COVID19 outbreak, the Philippine government is preparing all the necessary interventions available to ensure a rebound in 2021.
Speaking in a joint European countries foreign chambers webinar composed of the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines, Dutch Chamber of Commerce Philippines, French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines, German Chamber of Commerce Philippines, NordCham Philippines and Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Department of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez laid down the programs and policies of his department in charge of investment, business, and job creations as part of the government’s response to COVID-19.
He acknowledged the economic challenges that the whole world has to face and zeroing into the Philippines’ situation he pointed out the strategies that are in the pipeline now.
“We are heading towards the challenging 2020 with negative growth of -2.9 in the first quarter. This is the first contraction since Q4 1998 which was the Asian financial crisis,” the Trade Chief explained.
“But we are ready to make sure that we will rebound. And more than the characteristic of Filipinos for being resilient, we need good and clear plans to arrest the recession,” Lopez added.
Target growth for 2021
For Q12020, major economies are badly hit by the COVID19 outbreak that resulted in the lockdowns this includes the US, EU, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines.
Secretary Lopez pointed out that in Q4 2019, the Philippines came out strong and the Philippines, became the 2nd-fastest growing economy in ASEAN with 6.7 growth, a 0.3 shy away from Vietnam to share the top spot.
“Everything changes with COVID19 pandemic. It is a global issue, and everyone is caught by surprised” Lopez said. But we have to deal with this head-on,” Lopez added.
The Trade Chief presented the conservative forecast growth based on their study and planned intervention programs to make sure that the target will be achieved.
“We can expect a 5.8% growth in 2021. This is our goal and we will make this happen under various government programs that focus on strengthening the construction industry, especially under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” Program, Lopez revealed.
“Then we will also be expecting around 4%-5% growth contribution from the manufacturing industry, particularly in the food and beverage sectors. And this will be complemented with a stronger focus on agriculture that is receiving the needed push by Secretary Dar,” Secretary Lopez added.
“The agriculture sector has more aligned programs with DTI to promote locally and internationally and is expected growth of more than 2%. We have been doing a lot of local and international trade promotion of our country’s various agri-business to showcase what we have here in the Philippines,” the Trade Chief explained.
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Lopez also noted that the service sector which has been one of the strongest and fast-growing sectors of the Philippine economy is expected to contribute around 5.5% – 6%. By leveraging it, this will contribute substantially to our GDP, and 5.8% growth in 2021 is a realistic target. Given this data, the three major industries that would contribute to the 5.8% GDP growth target in 2021 will be the construction industry, manufacturing industry, agriculture, and the service industry.