The economic recovery registered by the regions last year should encourage investments in their respective areas, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
In the latest DOF Economic Bulletin, Finance Chief Economist Gil S. Beltran said economic growth rose in all 17 regions in 2021 as the country recovered from a deep recession induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
To sustain the pace, Beltran said regions should set up investment marketing campaigns, focusing on their attractive features especially their human and natural resources and their infrastructure advantages.
“They need to improve on their approval procedures to lower investment costs,” Beltran said.
Moreover, he said regions also need to speed up recovery from natural disasters, while investors and entrepreneurs may need to look for appropriate insurance coverage.
An average of 20 typhoons strike the country every year.
“Disaster insurance is now available in the market,” the DOF economist said.
In 2021, Region IVA (CALABARZON) topped all regions in the growth race with a 7.6 percent growth, closely followed by Bangsamoro Administrative Region (BARMM) and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) with 7.5 percent each.
Region III (Central Luzon), CARAGA, Region X (Northern Mindanao) and Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) followed with 7.4 percent, 7.2 percent, 6.3 percent and 6.0 percent, respectively.
National Capital Region, the largest region, grew by 4.4 percent in 2021, while the Luzon regions (excluding Metro Manila) averaged 6.7 percent growth. The Visayas and Mindanao regions posted an average growth of 5.7 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.
“Regional growth was more even in 2021 than in 2020 and 2017, but slightly less even than in 2018 and 2019,” Beltran said.
“The coefficient of variation of growth rates dropped to 0.216 in 2021 from 0.341 in 2020 implying lower dispersion of growth rates. BARMM, CARAGA and Region VIII, three of the top 7 in regional growth are low-income regions,” he added.
Per capita regional expenditure closely followed the growth pattern in GRDE with CAR topping
However, of the 17 regions, only BARMM has fully recovered from the pandemic with average per capita regional expenditure higher by 1.3 percent in 2021 than in 2019.
The expenditure losses to be recovered by regions range from 1.2 percent for Zamboanga Peninsula and 10.5 percent for Central Luzon, the most Covid-19 affected region.