Economic managers revise growth target downward over budget delay

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 13) — Economic managers of the Duterte administration lowered their growth target for the year because of the delay in the proposed 2019 budget

The Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC), in a media briefing Wednesday, said the government is targeting a 6 to 7 percent gross domestic product (GDP) for 2019 from the original 7 to 8 percent. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, and Budget Acting Secretary Janet Abuel attended the meeting.

"The 6-7 percent is an adjustment from the 7-8 percent for every year until 2022, and that is because it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the budget will be reenacted until April," Pernia said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) had estimated that the reenacted budget could result in a 6.1 to 6.3 percent growth rate if the budget is passed as early as April.

But if the budget isn't passed by yearend, the economy is expected to grow by a mere 4.2 to 4.9 percent.

READ: NEDA: Full-year reenacted budget can stunt economic growth

Dominguez said the government missed out on construction opportunities in January to March due to lack of proper funding.

"The first part of the year is the best period to do construction. That delay in starting new projects will impact the infrastructure program," he said.

He reiterated that the government, on a reenacted budget, had P46 billion less to spend during the first three months of the year.

Still, the Finance Secretary shrugged off the revised target, as it still puts the Philippines as one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

"This growth rate of 6-7 percent, we're still the highest in the region," he said.

CNN Philippines correspondent Rex Remitio contributed to this report.