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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Recto To Biz Sector: Rp Economy ‘Tough’ Despite Crisis

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Ralph G. Recto told the business sector that while the Philippines is feeling the impact of the global crisis, our economy is tough and will continue to be resilient.

“The Philippines is feeling the impact of the global crisis. But our economy is tough, and this has been acknowledged by many rating agencies. The economy will be even more resilient as pesos are poured into kilometers of concrete,” Recto said during the recent Meeting of Major Business Organizations on the 2009 Economic Roadmap at the Intercontinental Hotel, Makati City.

At the meeting, he presented the government’s Economic Resiliency Plan which aims to ensure stable growth, create jobs, provide assistance to the most vulnerable sectors, ensure low and stable prices, and improve competitiveness in preparation for the global rebound.

Part of the Plan is the PhP300-billion fiscal stimulus package intended to pump-prime the economy this year. This package includes the PhP100-billion fund that the government and private sector shall create to help spur the economy.

“We will create the PhP100-billion fund with the private sector to lower borrowing and financing costs for capital expenditures spending and redirect these resources to important infrastructure projects. We are also tapping the resources of other government financial institutions (GFIs) for infrastructure projects,” Recto said.

The NEDA chief also told the businessmen that the government is investing in infrastructure to create and save jobs, boost growth, and upgrade the country’s capital stock so the economy grows more efficiently and at a faster rate.

He said the government is also improving the absorptive capacity of its infrastructure agencies by ensuring that they “hit the ground running” in the first half of 2009.

“This can be done by ensuring that procurement plans are implemented and contracts are awarded in the first quarter of 2009, moving away funds from slow-moving projects to the fast-moving ones, deferring the implementation of new projects that do not have Investment Coordination Committee and NEDA Board approval or are difficult to implement immediately,” Recto said, adding that while the government is pushing for infrastructure and job creation, social protection will also be on top of government’s agenda.

He encouraged the business sector to look at opportunities during crisis to realize further growth after a period of hardships. “Let us take advantage of the situation and begin even this early to prepare ourselves again to gain from the eventual global economic rebound,” the socioeconomic planning secretary advised.

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