Address slowing growth, government told

agriculture

The administration’s economic managers should focus on strengthening the agriculture and manufacturing sectors to arrest the current slowdown

Research group IBON said that government should be concerned about the country’s slowing growth and the slowdown in agriculture and manufacturing.

Although the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the gross domestic product (GDP) grew in the second quarter, IBON stressed that comparing the first semester data marks a slowdown in growth. Compared to a 6.2% growth in the first semester in 2014, the GDP growth rate in the first semester in 2015 is only 5.3 percent. This is also only a slight pick-up from the 5.0% growth rate compared to the first quarter in 2015.

The group noted that the last two semesters are the slowest under the Aquino administration since 2012.

Agriculture contracted by 0.3% in first semester of 2015 from 1.9% in the same period in 2014. Manufacturing also slowed down from 9% to 5.3% in the first semester this year.

According to IBON, this shows that the Philippine economy in fact started to slow in 2014 and is headed for further slowdown because government continues to rely on shallow and unsustainable external sources. The slowdown in exports from 14.6% to 1.2% this quarter has dragged down the GDP. Likewise, compensation of overseas Filipinos notably declined.

This only highlights the flaw of government’s over reliance on unsustainable sources of growth and the urgency of reversing the policies of economic liberalization.

Instead of giving hype on increasing public spending, the administration’s economic managers should focus on strengthening the agriculture and manufacturing sectors to arrest the current slowdown in economic growth, the research group said. (end)

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