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Duterte’s building program to shield economy from global slowdown, DoF says

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WORKERS install steel framing on a foundation for the construction of the third stage of the Metro Manila Skyway project along A. Bonifacio Avenue in Quezon City. — PHILSTAR/ MIGUEL ANTONIO DE GUZMAN

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte’s infrastructure projects, which will generate jobs and boost consumption, will spur economic growth and shield the country from a global economic slowdown, the Department of Finance (DoF) said on Monday.

“Even as the global economic outlook deteriorates further, we are confident that the economic stimulus provided by our infrastructure program will continue to create new jobs and be very beneficial for businesses in the sense that it will lower your logistics costs in the Philippines,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said at a meeting with the delegation from the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) on Monday.

He urged the delegates, who are representing 25,800 Singapore-based companies, to consider investing in the country as the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program continues.

“The Philippine economy continues to demonstrate strength, stability and resilience in adverse conditions,” Mr. Dominguez said. “We hope to sustain our growth, relying on strong domestic demand to offset the general slowdown.”

He also said the tax reform program, enactment of a Rice Tariff law, the passage of a bill that seeks to simplify business applications, and the proposed national ID system and computerization of selected government services. Several measures will would make the country a prime investment destination.

Data showed that as of July, spending in infrastructure and other capital outlays surged by 73.1% to P75.2 billion from a month earlier. This was still 11% smaller than P84.5 billion a year earlier.




This brought the year-to-date infrastructure spending to P386.6 billion, 11.6% lower than a year earlier.

The Budget department traced the lower year-to-date spending to the lingering effect of the delayed approval of the 2019 budget and the 45-day public works ban ahead of the midterm election in May.

Meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said that as of July, two projects had been completed out of the administration’s 75 flagship infrastructure programs. Six of the nine projects that have started were finished halfway.

It said 21 projects worth P187.63 billion are set to be completed by 2022 while 54 other projects worth P2.23 trillion will be finished after that. — BML

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