By Minerva BC Newman
Cebu City – The country’s economy has made big strides in the past five decades and consumers must cash in on this growth before global interest rates rise.
This was the outlook presented by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Chairman Ernesto Pernia during the start of the Philippine Economic Briefing here Thursday.
Perina said the Philippine economy has entered “a Goldilocks period.”
At the same time, he said, there are key policy reforms the country needs to carry out to further pump up economic performance. One is improving the ease in doing business by reducing red tape, Perina said.
Another speaker, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Director Rolando Toledo, discussed fiscal strategy and budget reforms.
Toledo said national government spending reached R2,823.8 billion last year, up by nearly 11.0 percent from the 2016 figure. Underspending was down to just 2.9 percent of the full-year program, he said
Toledo said infrastructure is the top priority of the Duterte administration. For 2018, R1.1 trillion has been allocated for infrastructure, equivalent to 6.1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Infrastructure investment was more than thrice that made in 2010, he said.
Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Steven Pastor provided updates on the transportation sector and the administration’s #BuildBuildBuild program.
Pastor drew attention to the improvements at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which has been transformed from the worst to the most improved airport in the world.
NAIA ranked 10th among the most improved airports in the world in the Skytrax 2018 survey, Pastor said.
“It doesn’t matter which administration started or completed them, what is important is they are delivered to you, the Filipino people, because that is the right thing to do,” he said.
The repair and upgrade of the Mactan Cebu International Airport is 98 percent complete, and the terminal will reopen this June, Pastor said.