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Monday, March 4, 2024

Diokno: PH on the path to progress

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Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Wednesday expressed confidence the Philippine economy remains firmly on the path to recovery and progress, as evidenced by solid economic performance in the first three quarters of 2023.

The gross domestic product grew by 5.9 percent in the third quarter, faster than 4.3 percent a quarter ago, driven by strong performances of the services, industry and agriculture sectors.

This brought the average expansion in the first three quarters to 5.5 percent, within a striking distance of the low end of the 6 percent to 7 percent target range for the year and faster than in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

“With a brightening outlook on the horizon and a strong array of revenue-enhancing reforms, the Philippine economy remains firmly on the path to recovery and progress,” Diokno said during the Pilipinas Conference 2023 in Makati City.

The robust performance in the first three quarters was supported up by strong growth forecasts from foreign financial institutions such as the World Bank, which expects the Philippines to outpace its East Asia and Pacific peers at 5.6 percent in 2023.

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The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) predicts that the Philippines would post the highest growth in Southeast Asia in 2023 and 2024 at 5.9 and 6.5 percent, respectively.

“We are confident that we will achieve the lower end of our growth target of 6.0 to 7.0 percent for this year, and accelerate at 6.5 to 8.0 percent from 2024 to 2028,” Diokno said.

The Marcos administration aims to pursue macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability by implementing the Philippines’ first Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF).

Among the key reforms being pursued by the Department of Finance, as identified under the MTFF to accelerate economic development, are the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Bill, the Passive Income and Financial Intermediaries Taxation Bill and the value-added tax (VAT) on digital services.

The DOF is also pushing for the passage of tax measures on sweetened beverages and junk food, an excise tax on single-use plastics (SUPs), motor vehicle road users tax and the rationalization of the country’s mining fiscal regime.

“Together, these measures aim to improve tax administration, enhance the fairness and efficiency of our tax system, and promote environmental sustainability to address climate change,” Diokno said.

Hosted by the Stratbase ADR Institute, the Pilipinas Conference is an annual event that aims to stimulate ideas and generate discussions on society’s most pressing issues.

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