January 18, 2023
MANILA – The Philippine economy is likely to sustain a 6.5-percent growth rate this year, one of the fastest pace of expansion seen in the region, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Monday.
In a speech during a luncheon hosted by Philippine economic managers for President Marcos and the seven business tycoons attending the World Economic Forum meetings in Switzerland, Diokno estimated that gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2022 likely exceeded the government’s growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent.
While growth may just be at the low end of last year’s range in 2023, Diokno noted that 6.5 percent would still be one of the highest, if not the highest growth projection in the Asia-Pacific region.
A bustling manufacturing sector, record-low unemployment rate, alongside a stable and resilient banking system, could alleviate buffers against external headwinds, all indicating a resilient economy, the finance chief said.
Liberalizing more economic sectors, improving ease of doing business and allowing modern transformative industries to take root and grow are further seen to sustain the economy.
Diokno also said the Marcos administration had created a more competitive and enabling environment through public-private partnership (PPP) to further expand the “Build, better, more” infrastructure agenda of the administration.
This is seen to further boost investments on top of the government’s goal to spend at least 5-6 percent of GDP on infrastructure, Diokno noted, stressing all these would form the backbone for the rapid and sustained growth for the Philippines.
But because of the current challenges, Diokno said the Philippines is taking the first steps toward launching the Maharlika Investment Fund, the country’s first ever sovereign wealth fund that will support the goals set by the administration in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.
“The fund, which will be established in keeping with the highest standards of accountability and sound fiscal management, aims to diversify the country’s financial portfolio,” the DOF chief said, adding, he looked forward to discussing the fund during the WEF meetings.
“May the next few days bring forth more intensive collaboration and cooperation towards genuine economic transformation,” the DOF secretary said.
The seven tycoons who are in Davos to support Marcos’ inaugural participation at the 2023 WEF are: Sabin Aboitiz (Aboitiz); Kevin Andrew Tan (Alliance Global); Jaime Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Group); Lance Gokongwei (JG Summit Holdings); Ramon Ang (San Miguel Corp.); Teresita Sy-Coson (SM Investments); and Enrique Razon (International Container Terminal).
President Marcos and his official delegation, composed of government officials and business leaders, arrived in Switzerland on Sunday afternoon (Sunday evening Philippine time).