ARMM sees improving economic growth

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COTABATO CITY: The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanaos (ARMM) enjoyed economic growth in 2016 bouncing back from a slow growth the previous year, with a positive 0.3 percent gross regional domestic product (GRDP) from negative 0.4 percent in 2015.

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The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released these figures in simultaneous media briefings nationwide to present the region’s 2016 economic performance.

The GRDP is a tool to monitor the region’s economic performance. It covers the value of goods and services the region produced over a specific period of time.

Abubakar Assad, PSA-ARMM regional director, explained that a GRDP rebound means economic activity has improved, in this case from the previous year’s level as monitored by the government. Official data showed that the growth was driven by the services sector which comprises 38.0 percent of the region’s economy.

The services sector, also referred to as tertiary sector, covers businesses such as transport, storage and communication; trade and repair of motor vehicles, personal and household goods; financial intermediation; real estate, renting and similar business activities; public administration and defense; compulsory social sector; utilities and other services.

The industry sector or secondary sector grew 5.7 percent last year from 5.6 percent while agriculture, forestry and fishery or primary sector contracted from 58.2 percent in 2015 to 56.3 percent.

“We are happy to announce that with the given data by the PSA, ARMM’s economy rebounded from the adjusted data of negative 0.4 percent to positive 0.3 percent, or from negative economic performance to positive economic performance,” Baintan Ampatuan, ARMM planning and development office chief, said.

He pointed out that the reason for the slow economic recovery was the low contribution of the agriculture sector at 56.3 percent last year from 58.2 percent in 2015.

ARMM remains an agriculture-based economy and output has been affected by extreme weather conditions such as drought and flooding, along with displacement of farmers due to armed conflicts and calamities.

Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, noted that the new investment in telecommunications that is expected this year will contribute further to the region’s output in the services sector and generate new jobs.

She added the regional line agencies, as well as the local government units, should help in the proper accounting of services, products and projects in the region to achieve an accurate monitoring of economic activities in line with the objective of reducing poverty incidence.

“The GRDP in the ARMM has increased in 2016, but that doesn’t mean that we are already contented. It doesn’t mean that we have achieved the target, if we follow our regional development plan in the past five years. In the coming the next six years, we have some targets – targets on reducing the poverty incidence level,” Alamia stressed.

She cited the impact of positive economic growth on poverty reduction.

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