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Malacanang welcomes World Bank report on Philippine economy

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Malacanang welcomed the report of the World Bank (WB) saying that the prospects for the Philippine economy remain favorable in 2011 as investments, private consumption and the services sector are expected to strengthen.

“The World Bank report acknowledges that the economic fundamentals of the Philippines have significantly improved from where they were a few years ago,” said Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a statement Thursday.

Lacierda said the report recognizes the significance of the reforms undertaken by the Aquino administration, and how these measures provide stability as we pursue inclusive growth.” This is another manifestation of the thorough scrutiny of public policies and programs we have undergone, and the positive conclusion arrived at after due diligence and study, he said.

“We are continuing to work to increase the momentum of growth; there are many who still have to tangibly experience the assistance and support of their government,” Lacierda stressed.

According to the Philippines Quarterly Update (PQU) released on July 6 by the World Bank, the prospects for the Philippine economy remain favorable in 2011 as investments, private consumption and the services sector are expected to strengthen.

“The challenge now is sustaining the momentum of reform for achieving inclusive or broad-based growth that benefits the poor,” the report said.

“Prospects on the supply side remain favorable with manufacturing and construction projected to benefit from the end of the trade disruption linked to Japan’s post-disaster reconstruction, as well as the solid growth forecast for the business process outsourcing,” World Bank Senior Economist Eric Le Borgne said.

“Increasing mineral prices will provide incentive to fast track investment and increase production in the mining sector. The strong performance of the services sector in the first quarter is expected to remain robust throughout the year. The agriculture sector is projected to continue being a net contributor to growth,” Le Borgne continued.

In a statement, the PQU maintains its forecast of 5.0 percent gross domestic product growth rate in 2011 and 5.4 percent in 2012. The report, however, said that growth could potentially be higher as the strong focus and early gains of the Aquino administration in tackling corruption and improving the investment climate could boost domestic investment.

“The net exports are projected to recover due to a combination of a technical rebound in exports that were affected by Japan’s earthquake-tsunami-nuclear event combined with a potential boost in exports of goods and services (including labor exports) to Japan as Philippine companies and workers contribute to the reconstruction of affected areas,” said the PQU.

The PQU also noted that private consumption is projected to be buoyed by strong wage growth and employment among relatively well paid and formal sectors like the BPO.

World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman said the Philippines’ recent performance could be a sign of that country’s economy has already become steadier since the worldwide financial crisis.

“The November 2010 upgrading of the country’s sovereign foreign currency rating by Standard and Poor’s and a similar upgrade by Moody’s this June are testaments to this significant improvement,” Hofman said, adding that “the challenge is to ensure that growth is more inclusive or one that all citizens participate in and benefit from.”

The PQU pointed out that in its one year into office, the Aquino government has taken important reforms towards achieving inclusive growth. “Notable reform measures achieved include improving the transparency of the public sector budget and of public financial management to improve governance and launching an ambitious public-private partnership program to address infrastructure bottlenecks as well as help foster the development of inclusive sectors such as tourism,” it said. (PCOO/PIA9-BST)

 




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