National Economic Development Authority Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua remains optimistic the economy will return to its pre-pandemic growth this year.
During the recent Philippine Consulate General town hall meeting in New York City, Chua discussed the country’s progress in reducing poverty in the last six years, medium-term priorities and economic prospects moving forward.
In 2015, poverty was estimated at 23.5 percent. By 2018, we have reduced it to 16.7 percent. Prior to the pandemic, we were very much on track to achieving 14 percent or less. The reason why we are able to do this is because of our commitment to the zero-to-ten point socioeconomic agenda, Chua added.
Chua said the progress in achieving the zero-to-10 point socioeconomic agenda paved the way for the country to achieve its target of lifting six million Filipinos out of poverty in 2018, four years ahead of schedule. This also provided the Philippines with strong foundations to better address the challenges of the pandemic.
Moreover, Chua highlighted some of the administration’s notable achievements since 2016.
Among these are the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investment Act and the Public Service Act, which will help relax foreign ownership restrictions and increase competition that can improve the quality of goods and services at lower prices.
The government also enacted the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, which helped fund more infrastructure and social services, and the Rice Tariffication Law in 2019, which supported rice farmers in improving their productivity and significantly lowering the price of rice.
Chua also noted recent developments in the government’s response to COVID-19.
EO 166 provides a 10-point policy agenda aimed at accelerating the economy’s recovery from the pandemic. It includes strategies such as reducing travel restrictions and accelerating the vaccination program, which will enable the economy to restart activity and bounce back.
Sources: Angela Celis, Malaya Business Insight
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