The government is keeping its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for 2015 at between 7 percent and 8 percent, dismissing speculation that the slower economy in 2014 may drag the expansion next year.
Socieconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the government remains optimistic that the major sectors of the economy will fuel growth and offset poor government spending in 2014.
“I would see that [2015 GDP growth target] as very realistic,” Balisacan, who is also the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general, told reporters in a forum on Friday.
Broader growth seen
The NEDA chief stressed the government’s optimism toward next year’s projected GDP expansion lies in the perception that the composition of Philippine economic growth has been changing and becoming broader.
“We are seeing growth coming not only from consumption but also from investment and trade. On the other side of the economy, before, we were only seeing services, but now we see industry actually leading growth and manufacturing picking up,” he said.
Balisacan noted that these are “very positive” developments for the economy as they suggest that the Philippines is becoming less vulnerable to shocks.
In this regard, he said that the country is now seeing economic growth that can generate better-quality employment.
“Growing industry and manufacturing sectors are really good sources of growth insofar as employment generation is concerned,” he said.
Slower govt spending sign of reform
When asked about his view on low public expenditures this year, Balisacan said he sees the reforms in government spending as an investment that may create a positive impact to the economy in the future.
“I would like to see the low government spending as an investment in the future. If these reforms are for the better, and our agencies are becoming more conscious about what to spend, then in the medium-long term, that should be good for the country [in terms of]governance…,” he said.