DBCC to revisit economic, fiscal targets after Q1 GDP

Published May 13, 2021, 7:20 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Duterte administration will revisit its medium-term macroeconomic targets and fiscal program next week following a worse-than-expected economic performance in the first-quarter.

In a media advisory released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), it said the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) will hold its 179th meeting on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

The DBCC, which the DBM chairs, will release “revised” medium-term macroeconomic assumptions and fiscal program after the meeting, the advisory stated.

The inter-agency body, which sets the macroeconomic targets of the country, is made up of the DBM, Department of Finance (DOF), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

On Tuesday, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that gross domestic product (GDP) dipped 4.2 percent in the first three-months of the year, worse than the 0.7 percent contraction a year earlier, but slower compared with minus 8.3 percent in the previous quarter.

The end-March GDP marked the nation’s fifth consecutive quarters of recession, the longest since the Marcos era when economic output decelerated for nine consecutive quarters between the fourth quarter of 1983 and the fourth quarter of 1985.

On a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis, the Philippine economy grew by 0.3 percent.  

For 2021, the DBCC is currently targeting to grow the economy by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent from a record contraction of 9.5 percent last year. The GDP needs to expand by at least 10.1 percent in the next nine-months to attain that full-year goal.

Despite the disappointing first-quarter GDP, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the local economy is on the mend driven by the country’s strong economic position before the pandemic and improving economic data in recent months.

While the recent lockdowns in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area will pose downside risks to growth, Chua said said that “our actions in the next eight months can reverse these initial losses.”

“This time around, we also have much more latitude. Unlike last year’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the government is taking a more calibrated approach to the present quarantines by addressing the highest sources of risks,” Chua said.