NEDA: PH economy to return to pre-pandemic levels by end-2022 or early 2023

Published August 26, 2021, 3:59 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua on Thursday, August 26, expressed optimism that the Philippines’ economy will recover to a pre-pandemic level late next year or in early 2023.

NEDA Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua (Malacañang Photo)

During the first hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations on the proposed P5.024-trillion proposed 2022 national budget, Chua shared that their prospects for the country’s recovery since the COVID-19 outbreak remain “encouraging”.

“They remain encouraging and will allow us to recover to pre-pandemic levels sometime at the end of 2022, if not early 2023,” the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief told the House panel.

“And this will also help us prevent longer scarring and productivity losses,” he added.

Chua, however, noted that there is “heightened risk” in further reopening the economy due to the Delta coronavirus variant, though he said that the government, by relaxing the lockdowns, is balancing the need to control the disease and address the pandemic’s recessionary impacts.

The government recently eased the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila to the less stringent modified ECQ, reducing the impact to the economy from P144 billion per week to some P73 billion per week.

Chua said 54 percent of the economy are under MECQ.

“Our imposition of quarantine does not come without cost. There are severe economic cost and that is why our position is to manage this better to that we can open the economy at the appropriate time,” Chua said.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has lowered its economic growth outlook for the year to four to five percent, from its initial six- to seven-percent growth target.

Relying on the acceleration of government’s vaccination program, finance and economic managers set a growth target of seven to nine percent for 2022.

Chua said the economy is also seen to get a boost from the passage of the 2022 national budget, specifically from the allocations for the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.