NEDA board approves updated economic blueprint for next 2 years

THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board, chaired by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, has approved the country’s medium-term economic development blueprint which was updated to consider the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The Updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) has been approved by the NEDA board on Jan. 7, after the majority of the NEDA board members signed the ad referendum in favor of the plan,” said Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said in a statement late Friday.

The government began reviewing its economic goals and programs under the PDP 2017-2022 last year, as the pandemic drove the economy into its first recession in nearly 30 years.

The updated plan, which NEDA will release on Feb. 4, covers the government’s priorities for the next two years, Mr. Chua said. These include the enhanced implementation of the Universal Health Care Act, raising the quality of instruction in education, upskilling workers and institutionalizing social safety nets.

“It includes other reforms and strategies we will undertake to meet the sustainable development goals and help every Filipino achieve the long-term vision of a strong, convenient, and peaceful life by 2040,” Mr. Chua said, referring to the longer-term vision of the government formally called AmBisyon Natin 2040.

The 2017-2022 plan and AmBisyon Natin 2040 were both crafted in 2016, with the latter serving as the anchor for development planning for four administrations. AmBisyon Natin 2040’s 25-year vision is to eliminate poverty and make the country a predominantly middle-class society.

In its October Labor Force Survey report, the NEDA said the updated plan includes an unemployment target of 7-9% by 2022, lower than the initial goal of 3-5% adopted in 2016.

The jobless rate spiked in April after the strict lockdown forced most businesses to close amid the pandemic. The unemployment rate averaged at 10.2% last year, according to official data.

Under the original blueprint, the government had targeted to become an upper-middle income economy by 2022; achieve a 7-8% annual growth rate; increase per capita income to $5,000 (from $3,850 in 2019); reduce the poverty rate to 14% (from 16.7% in 2018); and keep inflation rate within 2-4%. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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