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Gov’t sticks to 6-7% growth goal this year

THE PHILIPPINE ECONOMY is expected to expand by 6-7% this year, slower than the 7.6% growth in 2022. — PHILIPPINE STAR/WALTER BOLLOZOS

THE DEVELOPMENT Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) will likely retain the economic growth target and inflation assumption for this year, economic managers said.

Asked if the DBCC would revise or maintain its targets at its next meeting in April, Finance chief Benjamin E. Diokno told reporters it would be “maintained.”

The DBCC has set a gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of 6-7% this year, slower than the 7.6% expansion in 2022. It also assumes inflation will settle between 2.5% and 4.5% this year.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said it may be too early to even think of revising the GDP target.

“It’s only the end of February. We will stick with the 6-7%, even if it’s just at the lower end,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the economic managers’ briefing at the House of Representatives.

At its December meeting, the DBCC lowered the GDP growth target for 2023 to 6-7%, a narrower range from 6.5-8% previously, citing a possible slowdown in major economies.

During the House hearing, Mr. Diokno said that the country will also still be able to achieve its goals under the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework.

“The forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is that average inflation will be 6.1%…next year it will be slightly higher than 3%, it is more or less within the (2-4%) range. It’s still on track this year,” he said.

The BSP earlier this month revised its average inflation forecast this year to 6.1% from 4.5% previously. It expects inflation to ease to 3.1% in 2024.

Headline inflation accelerated to 8.7% in January, its fastest pace in 14 years. February inflation data is set to be released on March 7.

Mr. Diokno said there is a possibility that revenue targets may be revised at the next DBCC meeting.

“We constantly update the numbers. In the light of recent figures on inflation, we will update it. The DBCC meets every quarter (to adjust targets),” he said.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is tasked to collect P2.599 trillion this year, while the Bureau of Customs (BoC) has set a target of P901.3 billion.

The BIR and BoC are the government’s main revenue-generating agencies, with the BIR collecting about 70% of government revenues. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson with inputs from Beatriz Marie D. Cruz