January 30, 2017
A robust domestic economy with a healthy foreign exchange buffer, a strong banking system and a young, educated work force are among the key factors sustaining the Philippines’ GDP growth of 6.5 to 7 percent in 2017, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
In a statement Monday, Dominguez said even global financial shocks, such as rising US interest rates and possible surge of protectionist policies in certain countries that could affect trade, would not threaten the economy, as the Philippines is not largely relying on external trade as a growth driver.
“I’m quite confident that this coming year, we will achieve the growth rates that we have set for ourselves, and that we will be in pretty good shape,” Dominguez said.
Last week, Dominguez said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) expansion of 6.8 percent in 2016 pointed to a domestic economy in “pretty good shape” and well on its way to sustaining its growth momentum over the medium term.
Dominguez said this gave the Department of Finance (DOF) all the more reason to aggressively engage in its proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP)—and the Congress to swiftly act on it—so the Duterte government could raise enough funds for its unparalleled public spending program on infrastructure, human capital and social protection that would keep the Philippines among Asia’s fastest-growing economies in the years ahead.
“This is clear proof that no amount of counterproductive political chatter from certain quarters could undermine the upward trajectory of a domestic economy that is in pretty good shape under a Duterte presidency that is fully committed to sustaining its growth momentum,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said the Philippines’ economic outlook remains highly positive, with the country having more than enough forex reserves to service its foreign debt.
“We have a very strong banking system. We have a population that is young, educated, healthy and very enthusiastic. So I think our domestic economy is well positioned to grow between 6.5 percent and 7 percent as most institutions have predicted,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said the country has a president who believes in carrying out “fiscally conservative” policies to rev up the economy and keep the budget deficit within manageable levels.
“President Duterte was mayor for 22 years. As mayor, he was very fiscally conservative. Davao City has one of the most robust balance sheets in the country, and that’s because he is very conservative in his spending. He makes sure that the taxes due the local government are collected,” Dominguez said.
“And believe me, what he practiced in Davao as mayor, he will practice as President,” he added. DMS
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