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GOV’T MUST STEP-UP SPENDING TO ATTAIN GDP TARGET – ANGARA

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance said that all government agencies must aggressively step-up its fiscal spending for the remaining period of the year to help the administration attain its economic growth target for 2019.

Senator Sonny Angara said government’s “spending catch-up plan” will be key in meeting the full-year gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of 6 percent to 7 percent.

“The contribution of the government is to step-up its spending, meaning actual payment for goods and services delivered. I am speaking of disbursements and not just obligation of funds,” Angara said.

“I hope that we will be doing all the smart moves in the last two months.”

“I hope that we will be doing all the smart moves in the last two months that would allow us to meet the finish line goal of 6 to 7 percent growth. Sabi naman ng mga economic manager (According to economic managers), there will be the last quarter spurt, buoyed up in part by the holiday spending and OFW (overseas Filipino workers)remittances,” the veteran legislator added.

The government has reported that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 6.2 percent in July to September period following two-quarters of deceleration, bringing the year-to-date economic growth to 5.8 percent.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the Philippines likely ranked second behind Vietnam’s 7.3 percent but higher than China’s 6.0 percent. India’s expected third-quarter growth was below 6 percent, while Indonesia was at 5 percent.

Pernia said the economy will have to expand by at least 6.7 percent in the last quarter to meet the low-end of the full-year target.

Angara lauded the uptick in public construction spending since it entails a recovery from the delay of the passage of the national budget, as well as the gains in farm output.

“The challenge is to prevent any backsliding and stop the ASF (African swine fever), the low copra prices and the dip in palay yield from pulling down the agriculture performance,” the senator said.

“The fact that our third quarter expansion outpaces China, India and Indonesia can only be good news for all of us.”

“The fact that our third quarter expansion outpaces China, India and Indonesia can only be good news for all of us,” he added.

Angara expressed optimism that the 6.7 percent growth can be achieved at the end of the year, noting that the economic managers seem to be successful in pushing the right buttons.

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