Inoculation now boosting confidence—NEDA

Published June 23, 2021, 6:02 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the inoculation of economic frontliners is moving quickly and will continue to ramp up in the coming weeks.

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Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the vaccination of the A4 priority group is boosting confidence among workers and consumers, and to the safe reopen the economy from prolonged quarantine restrictions.

“Hopefully, we can vaccinate as many workers as we can in the next few months. If workers are vaccinated, then they bring home much less risk to their family members,” Chua said during the 42nd National Conference of Employers on Wednesday, June 23.

The NEDA chief said the inoculation of economic front-liners is expected to ramp up once an additional 17 million COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive in the next six weeks.

Along with vaccination, Chua said the government’s economic recovery package must also be accelerated to support businesses and enable them to retain or employ new workers.

“Our recovery program has been in place since last year and implementing this will help the economy recover and businesses to get back to their feet,” Chua said.

He shared that the implementation of the economic recovery package is the second component of the three-pillar strategy to facilitate the economy’s recovery by 6.0 to 7.0 percent in 2021 and return to pre-pandemic levels by 2022.

The recovery package consists of a combination of fiscal, monetary, and financial instruments totaling about P2.8 trillion or 15.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Specific reforms include recently enacted Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, which provides the largest-ever fiscal stimulus package for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in recent history.

Meanwhile, the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act allows financial institutions to dispose of non-performing loans and assets to address liquidity concerns of firms.

Apart from implementing the recovery package, the two other pillars to enable the country’s recovery are the safe re-opening of the economy to modified community quarantine (MGCQ), or better, at the appropriate time; and the timely implementation of the vaccination program.

“The data shows that employment responds very well to the level of quarantine. When we further re-opened the economy, unemployment in the National Capital Region (NCR) went down,” Chua said.

“But when we reverted back to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), it went back up. So, we have seen that the people will find employment if we allow them to do so,” he added.