Commentary: Gov't determined to make economy take off by 2010
By Renee F. De Guzman
San Fernando City, La Union (31 October) -- The economy of the Philippines continues to beacon as the country is projected by analysts to be tracking the global trend in its resilient growth, despite slow progress in other parts of the world.
Foreign investors' purchases of local stocks rose sharply in the first nine months, helped largely by improved sentiment due to government efforts to control the gaping budget shortfall.
From January to September, net foreign buying at the Stock Exchange increased by 108.8 percent to P42.2 billion from P20.2 billion in the same period last year.
The stong performance of the peso, according to Bangko Sentral is actually a reflection of how well the economy is doing better at the moment.
The peso continues to perform very strongly and is poised to hit 48:$1 based on the calculation of Bangko Sentral.
BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. said the strength of the peso is a reflection of how well the economy is doing at the moment and he is bullish about the prospects of the Philippines getting a credit upgrade from U.S.-based Moody's with all the macroeconomic indicators in the right direction.
"We have an excess in our VAT collections, on the fiscal side, we have an over-performance. The gross domestic product, inflation, fiscal and balance of payments were all moving in the right direction. Growth is continuing, inflation is decelerating and the deficit is below expectation. We're getting more forex inflows than outflows and that is positive for the currency", Tetangco added.
World Bank's country representative to Manila Joachim von Amsberg said at the opening last week of the 32nd Philippine Business Congress in Manila Hotel, "that the Philippine economy should take off by 2010."
Von Amsberg acknowledged the various government programs aimed at improving the business climate in the country but added that government must send "strong policy signals" to attract more investors.
More investments are urgently needed to catapult the Philippines to tiger economy status. Businessmen in general want to see open-sky policy for the rest of the country's airports, lower power rates, and major infrastructure projects to lower cost of doing business. New investments will solve unemployment, which remains one of the biggest challenges facing the economy.
In response, Malacaņang assures the international financial community that the Government was "working overtime" on the economic blueprint of President Arroyo.
The Arroyo Administration is aggressively bent on turning the Philippines around through tough decisions and proactive policy. It has been implementing several economic policy reforms, including tax reform measures and a strong campaign against tax evaders and smugglers, in a move for economic takeoff.
It will take a series of daring moves from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and strong support and cooperation of the entire Filipino nation for the economy to leap frog from the pond where it is now.
Government alone could not do it. However, it could achieve more if everyone continues to join hands and remain focused on the agenda of economic growth and political stability.
The Philippines could either take off or muddle through, either direction is entirely up to us. (PIA La Union) [top]