The Philippine economy in the first quarter of 2016 likely grew better than the comparable period a year ago, boosted by infrastructure and election-related spending, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra said the economy could exceed the first-quarter 2015 growth in gross domestic product (GDP) of 5 percent.
“Better than that [first quarter 2015]? Certainly. You can easily exceed the 5 percent growth,” Esguerra told reporters on sidelines of the press briefing on the status of the Roadmap to Address the Impact of El Niño (RAIN) on Tuesday.
Esguerra cited infrastructure spending as one of the drivers, citing the ongoing projects under the public-private partnership scheme.
Another driver is election-related spending, he said, noting that a previous study showed there is a 0.5 to 1-percentage point increase in GDP whenever it is an election year.
“It is a given. 2016 is an election year. Whether you like it or not, there is an additional boost in spending,” said Esguerra, who is also NEDA director general.
In addition, he said election-related spending also has multiplier effects.
“[For instance], there will be people who will get some income, they will be spending that, so that adds to the consumption component,” he said.
This year, the government is targeting a GDP growth of 6.8 percent to 7.8 percent, higher than the 5.8-percent expansion last year.