By Mario Casyuran
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol were set to meet Monday to discuss new programs that would enable the agriculture sector to contribute more in the country’s economic growth.
Dominguez, appearing before a Senate committee hearing Monday, said the DA is lagging behind in uplifting the lives of farmers.
The hearing sought to brief lawmakers on the status of the implementation of the 2018 national budget and the effects of the reenacted budget during the first quarter of 2019.
Dominguez testified that the DA reported only 0.1 percent growth in 2018 and needs at least a two percent growth this year.
Based on the assessment by the government economic managers, the DA needs fresh programs to uplift the agriculture sector, Dominguez said.
He noted that DA’s contribution to the economic growth for the past 10 years has been “anemic.”
During the public hearing conducted by the Senate finance committee, Dominguez also tackled the negative effects of the reenacted budget to the country’s economy.
Among these were the failure of the government to create 320,000 jobs as targeted, lift 420,000 families from the poverty level; stalled the construction of 4,100 new classrooms and the repair of 18,575 others.
Dominguez also explained that the delay in the approval of 2019 P3.757 trillion national budget also caused a P1 billion government under-spending daily during the first quarter of the year.
Had the budget been approved on time, the country’s economy could have grown by one percent every month or above six percent for 2019.
Despite these, Dominguez said he is confident that the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and of Transportation (DoTr) could propel the administration’s catching up tasks.
“I am confident that (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar and (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade will certainly make every effort to meet the targets, and I think they are capable of meeting the targets,” said Dominguez.
Dominguez said that the weather is a decisive factor in realizing these targets.