Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said he will be more optimistic than institutions who recently downscaled their gross domestic product (GDP) forecasts for the Philippines this year.
“I would be more optimistic than the IMF (International Monetary Fund) for instance. I continuously monitor the daily data… although we have used the same terms, this year’s ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) compared to last year, you would find major differences,” Chua explained during the virtual budget deliberations of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Wednesday.
“For instance, Google mobility data shows that even at the same level of ECQ classification, our workers going to the office are just down by 20 percent. Last year around the time of August (and) September, it was down by 50 percent,” he added.
As such, the NEDA chief said that the economy will “not see the same fate” as last year’s and they will continue to monitor local economic developments.
Chua likewise noted that the state’s economic team has been working very hard to further reopen the economy, which will help spur faster economic rebound.
“We have pushed very hard in the economic team on reopening the economy further than this,” he said.
According to him, the new quarantine system in place is a step forward to reopen the economy as refocusing lockdowns on a more granular scale will grant more freedom for people and businesses.
The IMF recently scaled back its growth outlook for the Philippines from 5.4 percent to just 3.2 percent, much lower than the lower end of the government’s 2 to 4 percent target.
The country’s lower-than-expected second quarter GDP expansion along with the slower economic recovery in the second half due to the third wave of Covid-19 were the major factors cited by the IMF for its revision.