Palace still optimistic on Philippine growth despite World Bank's slash on its forecast
Despite the cut on the Philippine growth projection by World Bank, Malacanang expressed optimism on Thursday the domestic economy will register a robust growth for this year.
The Washington-based multilateral agency has lowered its growth forecast for this year for the Philippines to 6.5 percent from its initial expectation of 6.7 percent.
"We respect the lowering of forecast and we note the lowering is not really a major lowering, it’s 0.2. So we expect the Philippines to still grow at a robust rate of 6.5," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.
"That will make us the second fastest growing economy in the world if it does happen," he added.
World Bank has slashed the growth forecast for the Philippines after its gross domestic product in the first half slowed to 6.3 percent due to weak exports of electronics and lower production from agriculture and fisheries, owing to unfavorable weather conditions.
It warned high inflation rate as a risk to growth as this could dampen private consumption and investments.
Roque admitted that the Palace is worried about high inflation.
"Now, of course, we are all worried about inflation. No one is worried about inflation for as long as you need to rely with all the products that you have to buy in the market," he said.
But he said the government has taken measures to ease inflation, such as the issuance of Administrative Order No. 13, removing non-tariff barriers and streamlining administrative procedures on the importation of agricultural products.
He said these measures were without prejudice to the application of what is provided under Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, which is the suspension of increase in excise taxes if the price of crude oil reaches P80 in a period of three months.
"In addition to that, we are actively, of course, distributing the conditional cash transfers, the unconditional cash transfers under theTRAIN Law, the Pantawid Pasada Program as measures to help alleviate the effects of high inflation rate," Roque said. Celerina Monte/DMS