NEDA confident GDP to grow 7% in Q2

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THE national economy in the second quarter of this year must have per-formed significantly better than in the second quarter of 2015 and drove Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up by 7 percent, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

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Official GDP data for April-June 2016 is expected to be released by the Philippine Statistics Authority on Thursday next week.

NEDA’s estimate, in the meantime, is based on the ongoing higher spending for infrastructure projects and the election spending during the early part of the second quarter.

The GDP figure for the second quarter would not be too far from the 7 percent the agency had previously forecast. The Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia who also heads NEDA confidently told reporters, A year ago, the economy grew by only 5.8 percent.

However, this time, “it should not be too far from 7 percent plus or minus 2 percentage points I think,” Pernia said.

The latest data from the Department of Budget and Management showed that the government had spent P147.2 billion on infrastructure and other capital outlays in the first four months of 2016, which was 60.3 percent higher than the P91.9 billion during the previous corresponding period.

Going forward, Pernia said this growth would continue until the second half of the year despite the waning impact of election-related spending.

Drivers for growth, he said, would be infrastructure spending particularly those that will be spent on public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

“There will be more infrastructure spending. And even PPP projects are going to be rolled out,” he said. The priority PPP projects, he added, include link roads, railways and airports.

As of the second quarter of 2016, 14 PPP projects costing P303 billion have already been awarded, while 17 projects worth nearly P580 billion are in various stages.

Recently, inter-Agency Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) has pitched 10 projects for the approval of the NEDA Board, nine of which for an estimated cost of P136.44 billion.

These projects are the North-South Railway Project – South Line; Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard Phase II; Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit- EDSA; Plaridel Bypass Toll Road Project; Metro Manila Flood Management Project, Increase in Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) Area of the Bicol International Airport Project; Change in Scope of the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project; Modernization of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center; Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital; and the Inclusive Partnerships for Agricultural Competitiveness.

Besides, the Duterte administration earlier said that it would continue the current line up of projects under the PPP program.

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