• PH factory output loses pace in May

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    PHILIPPINE industrial output lost momentum in May amid the higher production of construction and export products, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday showed.

    The Volume of Production Index (VoPI) rose 5.8 percent in May 2017, from 4.3 percent in April, but slower compared with 7.4 percent in May 2016, according to the latest Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (Missi).

    Missi monitors the production, net sales, inventories, and capacity utilization of selected manufacturing establishments to provide flash performance indicators on the manufacturing sector.

    The Value of Production Index increased by 3.6 percent in May, from 2.5 percent in April, but unchanged from 3.6 percent in May 2016.

    The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the growth in manufacturing was a result of higher production of basic and fabricated metals and non-metallic mineral products.

    Fabricated metals registered a record-high growth of 116.9 percent, while basic metals increased by 29.1 percent and non-metallic products by 22.6 percent.

    Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the output of construction products would increase toward the end of the year on the back of fiscal spending on infrastructure.

    The government plans to spend P847 billion on infrastructure development this year, covering projects in all regions, including small-, medium- and large-scale ventures.

    The budget for infrastructure the government intends to spend is P8.4 trillion. Seventy-five flagship projects have been identified by the government to address the country’s huge infrastructure deficit. Out of the 75 projects, 18 valued at P462.74 billion have been approved by the NEDA Board since the Duterte administration assumed office in June 2016.

    “Manufacturing output is expected to sustain its growth toward the end of the second quarter, driven by buoyant domestic demand and optimistic business outlook,” Pernia said.

    Pernia said it was important to streamline efforts across all levels of government to ensure inclusive innovation.

    “Bureaucratic procedures at the national and local levels should be simplified across the country, from urban centers to far-flung areas. Market-driven research should also be made available to everyone so that firms, whether small or large, can expand production and reach larger markets,” he said.

    Increasing growth potential, which involves greater use of science, technology and promoting innovation, is among the pillars of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, Pernia noted.

    The manufacturing sector stands to benefit much from this, he said.

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