TAGUM CITY, Philippines—The Philippines economy has expanded 6.9 percent in the July to September period, making the country the fastest growing economy in Asia next only to Vietnam, the Department of Budget and Management reported on Thursday, November 16.

“It is welcome news that 3rd quarter economic expansion fell within the government’s target, especially after an election year,” said DBM Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno in a statement.

DBM said the level of economic expansion in the third quarter is well in line with the government’s full-year target of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent gross domestic product growth.

“In the past, economic growth usually takes a deep nosedive after an election year,” he added. “This is not the case anymore owing to our sound macroeconomic fundamentals and economic policies.”

The improvement in government spending, according to DBM, was also reflected by higher utilization of cash allocation by the line agencies.

In Q3 of 2017, cash utilization ratio registered at 95.2 percent, suggesting that government agencies were able to spend the cash allocations released to them. This rate is also better than the 92.9 percent utilization ratio in the third quarter of 2016, DBM noted.

To illustrate, the third quarter GDP growth in 2004, which was an election year, reached 6.1 percent before dropping to 4.2 percent the following year. In 2010, also an election year, GDP grew by 7.3 percent in the third quarter before plummeting to 3.1 percent the ensuing year.

Diokno said that for this year, the variance is minimal with GDP growth registering 7.1 percent in the third quarter of last year versus 6.9 percent this year.

The budget secretary said that DBM is also committed to firm up government disbursements as the agency aims for a full-year P2.909 trillion disbursement target.

The government is targeting GDP growth of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent in 2017, and 7 percent to 8 percent from 2018 to 2022. (davaotoday.com)

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