Dominguez sees ‘strong recovery’

Published November 3, 2020, 6:00 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

Economy in 2021

MB file

The Duterte administration’s chief economic manager is confident the country would see a strong recovery next year as mobility restrictions ease allowing more people to safely return to work while complying with minimum health standards.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said he expects a “strong recovery” for the economy in 2021 even without any new relief package after the enactment of the two Bayanihan laws.

Dominguez explained he sees no need “at this time” for a third COVID-19 relief package that would provide more emergency assistance to pandemic-hit individuals and sectors.

Without fresh relief package, Dominguez said the economy can still make “a strong comeback next year.”

 “We are seeing a very strong recovery as we ease up the economy. We have a very good economy. Unfortunately, the contagion has forced us to throttle it down. But as we open up, we can see a very strong recovery through jobs,” Dominguez said.

He noted that when strict quarantines were in place, the unemployment rate spiked to 17.7 percent in April, but improved significantly to 10 percent in July when lockdowns were eased and more people were allowed to go back to work. 

The government’s goal is to pull down the unemployment rate to 5.0 or 6.0 percent, he said. 

Dominguez also assured Filipinos that the government will not impose any new taxes nor plan to sell off state-owned real estate assets to cover the revenue shortfall resulting from the coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

The government will instead tap the commercial market and possibly the Bangkok Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to raise more funds for its pandemic response and economic recovery program, he said.

 “We are not really seriously considering any taxes,” Dominguez said. “Taxing our citizens when their incomes are down is not a good idea.” 

Dominguez earlier said revenue collections as of September this year have dropped by around 12 percent compared to 2019.

But the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs have both overshot the revised collection targets set by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

The combined tax collections of the BIR and Customs at end-September reached P1.82 trillion, 8.26 percent better than the DBCC target of P1.68 trillion, but 12.47 percent short of the actual 2019 collection of P2.08 trillion for that period.