Prospects for the country’s growth remains promising as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) highlighted that recovery is now hinging on actions being taken in dealing with the coronavirus.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said that accelerating the vaccination roll-out, managing risks better, and implementing the economic recovery program are the government’s three key strategies to reach the growth targets for 2021 and 2022.
“We can see that our economic growth dropped last year to as low as -17 percent in the second quarter, at the height of the quarantines. However, we are slowly recovering, and our latest growth rate for the second quarter is now a positive 11.8 percent,” Chua said.
But while prospects for the economic recovery remain promising, Chua also noted that its sustainability depends on the actions taken in dealing with the prolonged health crisis.
“We can get back up to four to five percent growth this year and seven to nine percent next year by doing three important things. First is accelerating the vaccination program,” Chua said.
Beginning this month, the government opened the COVID-19 inoculation program to the general population, including teenagers ages 12 years old and above.
“This is the most important thing we need to do as soon as the [vaccine] supply comes in. We have seen that our vaccine roll-out has been fast, reaching half a million per day at its peak,” the NEDA chief said.
The second strategy that Chua mentioned was better risk management and the safe reopening of the economy.
“This involves lowering the age restrictions for those allowed to go out to enable more family activities, allowing limited face-to-face schooling in low-risk areas, and imposing granular lockdowns in areas with higher risk,” he said.
In September, the government started the implementation of granular lockdowns with alert levels initially for Metro Manila, or national capital region (NCR).
The new granular lockdown approach to curb the spread of coronavirus was adopted to help businesses reopen further, and hopefully a quicker economic recovery
Chua said they believe that the strategy to have granular lockdowns is right.
“When we piloted this in NCR, the cases went down, so it is working. Everyone needs to cooperate to ensure the effectiveness of this strategy. This is in tandem with the pilot face-to-face classes,” Chua said
“The final strategy is implementing the economic recovery program. This includes the timely use of the 2021 budget by reprioritizing it to address the gaps in education, health, and human capital development,” he added.