Eco, infra managers to brief financial community on PHL outlook

Members of the Duterte administration’s economic and “Build, Build, Build” teams led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III are set to update economists and members of the regional financial community this week on the Philippines’ economic performance, developments in the fiscal sector and the status of the infrastructure program

This Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB), to be held Tuesday (Sept. 18, 2018) at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Complex, will also include updates on New Clark City, which is being developed by the government as the country’s next big metropolis and agro-industrial hub.

Dominguez will deliver the keynote address at the PEB, which will be opened by BSP Gov. Nestor Espenilla Jr.

This briefing will be preceded by a press conference, which will be attended by Dominguez, the other economic managers and the members of the “Build, Build, Build” team.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia will provide an update on the Philippines’ latest economic performance and the Duterte administration’s socioeconomic priorities for 2018 and onwards during the PEB.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno will then present the fiscal strategy and reforms in the budgeting system that the Executive Branch wants implemented to ensure prudent spending and prompt disbursement of public funds.

Espenilla, meanwhile, will discuss the BSP’s fiscal reforms and developments in the monetary and financial sector, while updates on the New Clark City project will be presented by Vivencio Dizon, the president-CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar will separately brief the PEB participants about the status of the “Build, Build, Build” program.

An open forum will follow the PEB presentations.

Dominguez said earlier that despite the Philippines’ restrained economic performance in the second quarter, the country continues to be among the best performing economies in Asia on the strength of higher foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and rising capital formation.

He said a significant increase in revenues resulting from tax administration reforms and the implementation of the first package of the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program (CTRP) has enabled the government to maintain its high level of spending needed to sustain the momentum of the country’s investment-led growth.

Moreover, he said, hefty personal income tax (PIT) cuts under this first CTRP package–the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law–will let the administration grow the country’s middle class and thus put on track its path towards an upper middle-income economy by 2022.

As a share of the gross domestic product (GDP), capital formation, which is the most comprehensive measure of investment, rose by 27.4 percent during the first half of 2018 compared to the 25.4 percent during the same period in 2017, which is remarkably higher than the 21.3 percent average share of investments to GDP for the past 16 semesters.

Meanwhile, fixed capital, which mainly consists of construction and durable equipment, grew by 14.8 percent compared to 10.4 percent in the same period in 2017, which is a substantial increase from the 12.4 percent average growth for the last 16 semesters.

The Philippines’ net FDI rose by 42.4 percent to $5.8 billion in the first half of 2018 from $4 billion during the same period last year, reflecting stronger investor confidence in the Duterte administration’s economic reform agenda.

Fiscal performance also exceeded expectations, Dominguez said, as total revenue collections for the first seven months of 2018 amounted to P1.65 trillion, or 21 percent higher than the same period last year.

Of this amount, tax revenues accounted for P1.47 trillion, which is 18 percent higher than the same period in 2017.

Collections from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) improved 14 percent or P1.1 trillion; and Bureau of Customs (BOC) collections reached P331.5 billion, which is a full 35-percent increase over the same period last year.


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