PBBM says 8% economic growth target within his term ‘doable’

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

March 20, 2024, 2:42 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has expressed confidence that attaining the economic growth target of 8 percent during his term is within his administration’s reach.

“Sure. Why not? You know, we plan. We always plan for the ideal. We don't plan for a mediocre result. We plan for a very good result,” Marcos said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday night, when asked if he thinks his administration can achieve the 8-percent economic growth target under his watch.

“And as I said, we just have to adjust along the way, as we continue to transform the economy. But, yes, I think it is, I think it is doable,” he added.

Marcos said he is also optimistic that the government would reach its goal of hitting a 6.5 to 7.5-percent growth target for 2024.

He said the government is implementing policies aimed at propelling economic growth and addressing the impacts of economic shocks of the coronavirus pandemic on the country.

“Much of the policies that we've taken on are really to spur growth. That's part of the most, that's the most important part, because it is only growth that will pull us out of this —the morass that was left after the pandemic,” Marcos said.

“That seems to be the key. Is it sustainable if we continue down this road, if we defend all of the things that we are doing? I believe it is. I believe it is, if we are also agile in terms of responding to the shock that come(s) from the outside.”

The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) earlier announced that it aims to achieve an economic growth of 6.5 percent to 8 percent from 2025 to 2028.

The DBCC also set a 6.5 percent to 7.5-percent target for this year.

Peso gain ‘a good indication’

Marcos also said the peso climbing to a three-month high against the dollar is a “good” indication that the Philippine economy is getting more robust.

“It’s an indication of the strength of the economy. There is a downside to it for the Philippines because of our overseas workers where the dollar is worth a little less than it normally would be. But I see it as an affirmation that the economy has grown stronger, and that is, that's one of those obvious tests,” he said.

“And the dollar, I mean, of course, because it's a relative, it's a relative measure, the dollar has not depreciated. So if the value of the peso is increasing, then that is a good indication that, again, the economy has gained strength,” Marcos added.

Data from Bankers Association of the Philippines data showed that the local unit closed at PHP55.31 per dollar on March 12, strengthening by six centavos from its PHP55.37 finish on March 11, the peso’s strongest close in over three months or since its PHP55.30-per-dollar finish on Dec. 7, 2023.

Cut rate not yet feasible

Marcos, however, said cutting interest rates could not be done for now, citing that the country continues to deal with inflation.

He said shocks “keep coming in” because core inflation has an impact on the prices of basic commodities, particularly agricultural products.

“We’re still battling inflation. Inflation is still our biggest problem,” Marcos said. “Perhaps we look at it almost every week to see if it's time to bring down the rates. We are not yet there.” (PNA)