Politics

PDP preliminary framework unveiled

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) unveiled an updated preliminary framework for the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2023 to 2028, focusing on human capital and income development, as well as revitalizing the major sectors of agriculture, industry, and services.

“It has to be about developing and protecting the capabilities of individuals and families. We want them to have the capabilities to be able to earn more and to be able to protect those earnings,” NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said during the 1st SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. (SGV) Tax Symposium on Friday.

In an email to BusinessWorld, Ms. Edillon clarified that the framework she presented during the forum was updated just the previous day (Aug. 18).

As outlined in the presentation, promoting human capital and social development will entail boosting health and nutrition; improving education and lifelong learning; and establishing livable communities.

“We need to address these learning losses, pre-pandemic and then during the pandemic, so we can grow much faster going forward,” Ms. Edillon said in her presentation.

On the other hand, the goal of increasing income earning ability will require expanding training and skills development and intensifying employment facilitation.

At the same time, the protection of purchasing power is envisioned by ensuring food security and rationalizing social protection by targeting help to the most needy.

Meanwhile, another aspect of the framework concerns itself with transforming production sectors to generate more quality jobs and competitive products.

The modernization of agriculture and agri-business, the revitalization of industry, and the reinvigoration of the services sector will be achieved through advanced research and development, technology, and innovation; enhanced inter-industry linkages; and promoted trade and investments.

The framework also mentions appropriate government interventions, namely: to ensure macroeconomic stability; expand and upgrade infrastructure; promote competition and regulatory efficiency; attain peace and security; good governance and bureaucratic efficiency; and accelerate climate action and strengthen disaster resilience.

The framework will be finalized by next week, Ms. Edillon said.

“If ever, [there will be] very minimal changes and perhaps [it] will just need to be reflected in the long [and] more detailed PDP. If the latter, then there is no need to revise the PDP strategy framework,” she said in the email.

During the forum, Ms. Edillon acknowledged the risks to growth, which include inflation, high input costs, the fiscal deficit, and the slowdown in global demand.

“If this one actually factors into inflationary expectations, then it will have an impact on consumption, and that’s easily three-fourths of our GDP (gross domestic product), of our demand,” she said. “The slowdown on global demand would have an impact on our exports [and] manufacturing as well.”

Global commodity prices have surged in recent months due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and supply chain disruptions. Prices of wheat and fertilizer have soared amid tight global supply, putting pressure on the domestic agriculture industry.

Inflation stood at 6.4% in July, bringing the seven-month average to 4.7%.

The government set its inflation rate assumption to 4.5-5.5% for 2022, reflecting the impact of soaring transport, fuel, and food expenses.

The debt-to-GDP also stood at 62.1% at the end of the second quarter, above the threshold prescribed by multilateral lenders for developing markets.

Earlier this week, Ms. Edillon told reporters that the NEDA is working to fast-track the submission of the new PDP before its deadline in December.

The PDP serves as the government’s overall guide in development planning. The new PDP being created by the NEDA is also anchored in an eight-point socioeconomic agenda that also mentions ensuring food security, reducing transportation and logistics costs, and bringing down the high cost of power.

The near-term agenda also includes mitigating the scarring impact of the pandemic by addressing learning losses and strengthening social protection, as well as ensuring sound macroeconomic fundamentals by improving bureaucratic efficiency.

The PDP coincides with the government’s medium-term fiscal strategy which aims to attain 6.5-7.5% GDP growth this year, and 6.5-8% next year until 2028.