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Lawmaker bullish on PH economic prospects

January 27, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 184 views

ELATED over the 2022 full-year gross domestic product (GDP) growth, Albay Representative Joey Salceda is confident that several sectors including agriculture, construction and others will remain stronger this year.

Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said he “bullish” about 2023 prospects for the Philippines, despite fears of a global economic slowdown.”

According to the lawmaker, the 2022 full year GDP growth rate of 7.6 percent, which exceeds the DBCC targets, is a triumph for the administration’s policy of allowing the recovery momentum to proceed in full swing.

He credited the growth to the affirmative policies to scale back COVID-19 restrictions following a reduction in risk, a recovering tourism sector and major leaders such as the BPO, electronics, and mining sectors, the continuation of a policy of opening up the country to investments, and reaffirming the traditional economic partnerships with the world.

“But what catches my attention in the GDP figures is not the usual growth and recovery in consumption. That is to be expected. What excites me for 2023 and for the medium-term is the growth in gross capital formation. Businesses, in other words, are investing – and their expenditures for those investments reflected well on the figures,” Salceda said.

Gross capital formation grew by 16.8 percent year-on-year, according to the PSA’s estimates.

“That bodes very well for 2023 and beyond. That means the business sector is optimistic about the need for more production in the coming years. Don’t bet against the Philippines in 2023.” Salceda is also seeing “a sliver of hope in the agriculture sector.”

He pointed out that the energy sector appears to have some momentum based on the figures.

“The liberalization of the energy generation sector has yielded some benefits already, and I expect those benefits to grow in the medium-term. The growth in acquisition of power-generating equipment at 36.9 percent is staggering. This is the largest growth in expenditures on durable equipment except for water-transport, which grew by an eye-popping 190.2 percent,” he said.

Construction sector growth by 12.7 percent is also a sign, the solon emphasized, ith Marcos policy of Build Better More, or an enhanced continuation of the Build, Build, Build, is sound economic policy.

Meanwhile, Salceda said that he expects inflation “to taper off in 2023 to more ‘normal’ levels. On the elevated side of normal, at around 4-4.3 percent.

“We can do better with policies that undercut the cartels in the sugar, onion, frozen meats, and other key food sectors,” he said.

“I have no doubt we will grow in 2023. Probably in numbers that once again surprise. But the best way to make that growth felt in the most basic sectors is to lower food prices,” the solon added.