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Trade group forecasts strong growth

Elmer N. Manuel @tribunephl_lmer

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The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) expressed optimism the country’s economic growth will accelerate next year on the back of a robust government and consumer spending.

According to the country’s largest business group, the consensus was for local expansion, measured as the gross domestic product, averaging 6.7-percent as forecast by global lenders, noting that the country should remain as one of the most resilient economies in Asia.

“PCCI expects the economy to surge in 2019. Our country continues to enjoy strong macroeconomic fundamentals, enabling us to weather external headwinds,” the PCCI said in a statement. “Our economic outlook for 2019 is still strong, backed by robust consumer spending and stronger government expenditures.”

It also noted that infrastructure projects, election-related spending, and the country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games would also help further drive economic growth.
Manila will hold its midterm polls in May next year and host the SEA Games in November.

“We in PCCI believe that investment growth will eventually catch up as higher public capital outlays, including increased infrastructure spending, will be undertaken more aggressively under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program,” it said.

The PCCI forecast growth for the Philippines falls squarely with Goal 8 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDG) which is a call for action by all countries — poor, rich and middle-income — to promote prosperity.

The UN-SDG — of which the Daily Tribune is a media partner — recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection and job opportunities.

The PCCI also said that to sustain economic growth, the government should fast-track the implementing rules and guidelines of the Ease of Doing Business Act.

“It is ironic that four months after its enactment, the implementing rules and regulations of the Ease of Doing Business Act has yet to be finalized,” it said.

The PCCI also called for the elimination of the port congestion problem and for the government to address job contractualization to “create certainty in the labor market.”

The UN-SDG stresses that continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption will lead to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies that all must share in progress.

It added that increased commitments to trade, banking and agriculture infrastructure will help increase productivity and reduce unemployment levels in the world’s most impoverished regions.

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