ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | April 18, 2023

April 18, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

Economic managers set to revisit growth targets

The economic team of the Marcos administration will revisit its growth targets for the year after inflation eased to a six-month low in March and with expectations of its continued downtrend. During the Philippine Economic Briefing in Washington late Wednesday evening, Budget chief and head of the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) Amenah Pangandaman said the economic team would look into the government’s macroeconomic assumptions for 2023. “When we return (to Manila) we are going to sit down (for this),” Pangandaman said.

BoI investment approvals hit P463 billion in Q1

The Board of Investments (BoI) has seen a 155% rise in approved investments for the first quarter (Q1) to P463.3 billion, with 68 approved projects, mainly in the renewable energy sector. Local investment approvals for the period showed a significant increase of 68%, amounting to P297.9 billion, compared to the P177.3 billion recorded in the same period last year, the BoI said in a statement on Friday. Meanwhile, foreign investment approvals saw a massive surge of 3,722%, reaching P165.4 billion compared to P4.33 billion recorded last year. The BoI is an investment promotion agency under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Key senator expects ease of paying taxes legislation to hurdle panel this year

The proposed Ease of Paying Taxes Act may be approved on second reading before the end of the year, a senator who chairs the committee evaluating the measure said. “We are currently finalizing the committee report on the proposed Ease of Paying Taxes Act, and we are hopeful that the measure will be approved on second reading before the end of the year. This measure, envisioned to put in place a tax administration system that is effective and expedient, is particularly important as the government endeavors to enhance its revenue collection efforts to finance programs and projects necessary to sustain economic growth,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who chairs the Committee on Ways and Means, sais.

Route investments from liberalization push to countryside, Marcos gov’t told

The Philippine Government should ensure that foreign investments spurred by the liberalization of key public services benefit the countryside, economists said on Thursday. “The amended Public Service Act is expected to push infrastructure further,” Leonardo A. Lanzona, who teaches economics at the Ateneo de Manila University, said in a Facebook Messenger chat. “However, its impact will be significant only if it is directed to increase infrastructure in remote rural areas.”

Invest in PH infra, investors urged

Philippine economic managers are drumming up the call for private-sector investors to do business in the country, touting the Marcos administration’s intention to address underinvestment in infrastructure as well as a pipeline of 194 flagship projects that cost a total of $165 billion. “Infrastructure spending is front and center of our growth strategy,” Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said at an economic briefing held in Washington DC. “We are committed to reverse the decades-long underinvestment in infrastructure,” Diokno said, noting that government spending on infrastructure averaged from 2001 to 2015 at only 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Gross borrowings jump in Feb.

The National Government’s (NG) gross borrowings jumped to P375.245 billion in February, amid a spike in domestic borrowings, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said. Data from the BTr showed that gross borrowings in February surged by 606% from P53.121 billion in the same month a year ago.Month on month, gross borrowings inched up by 2.3% from the P366.863 billion recorded in January. In February, domestic debt accounted for 95.7% of total gross borrowings. Gross domestic borrowings increased by 698% to P359.261 billion in February, from P45 billion in the same month in 2022.

IMF bullish on Philippine economy

The Philippines will likely sustain its growth momentum this year, supported by robust consumer demand and China’s reopening, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said. IMF Director of the Asia and Pacific Department Krishna Srinivasan said the country will likely benefit from China’s reopening this year.“The Philippines is one country that would benefit from an opening up of China, so there are upside risks to growth going forward,” Mr. Srinivasan said during the Asia-Pacific regional economic outlook press briefing here last week. China’s reopening should lead to higher net exports and more tourism activities in the Philippines, IMF Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department Sanjaya Panth said.

Senator pushes for VAT refund bill to attract more tourists

A senator on Sunday pushed for the passage of a measure that will give value-added tax (VAT) refund for foreign tourists to encourage more visitor spending in the Philippines.  “To be truly competitive with its peers in the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines needs to establish a tourist VAT refund system, one that is unfortunately not provided in our current tax laws,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said in the bill. Under the proposed measure, non-resident tourists with a foreign passport not engaged in trade or business in the Philippines who bring out at least P3,000 worth of Philippine goods within 60 days after arrival can avail of VAT refunds. The VAT refund should not exceed 85% of the total amount of VAT paid by the tourist, according to the bill. 

2.4% February remittance rise slowest in 7 months

Growth in remittances from Filipinos abroad slowed to 2.4 percent in February, the slowest in seven months, according to the latest data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). On Monday, BSP said the data showed this was the slowest since July 2022 when remittances posted a year-on-year growth of 2.3 percent. In the first two months of the year, cash remittances grew 3 percent. The level of cash remittances also reached P2.569 billion, the lowest level since May 2022 when remittances amounted to P2.425 billion. In the January to February period, remittances amounted to P5.331 billion.

Wholesale prices of goods rise at slower pace in February

Wholesale prices of general goods nationwide climbed at a slower pace in February from the previous month due mainly to the lower uptick in fuel prices, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Data from the PSA released yesterday showed the growth of the General Wholesale Price Index (GWPI) eased to 6.8 percent in February from seven percent in January. The February GWPI growth, however, is faster compared to the 5.6 percent increase in the same month last year. Tracking the changes in prices in wholesale trade, the GWPI serves as a basis for price adjustments in business contracts and projects.

Projects with CREATE tax perks reach P414 billion

The Cabinet-level Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has approved 17 projects worth P414 billion since its creation in 2021 following the enactment of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law. Finance Secretary and FIRB chairperson Benjamin Diokno said total investment capital from approved priority activities with incentives under the CREATE Law has already reached P414.3 billion. Approved applications cover the period from August 2021 up to end-December last year. During the fourth quarter last year, the FIRB approved the tax incentives application of TDK Philippines Corp. for the manufacture of microwave-assisted magnetic recording sliders.

Congress urged to amend rice tariffication law

Congress must immediately reassess and amend the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) in the wake of the  spike in rice prices feared to escalate into a shortage  later this year, according to the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF). The group said in a statement RTL amendments  must introduce additional safeguards to protect local farmers when farmgate prices are very depressed due to excessive imports. The revised law should also include a provision that will provide  options in resolving supply crunch  when imports and local production are low.

Budget release rate hits 81.9% at end of March

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it had released P4.31 trillion or 81.9% of the 2023 national budget at the end of March. Some P954.4 billion of the P5.268-trillion budget for this year remains undistributed, according to the DBM Status of Allotment Releases report. The pace of releases was ahead of the 69.4% rate at the end of March 2022. Releases to government agencies and departments amounted to P2.95 trillion, for a utilization rate of 93.8%. Special Purpose funds released totaled P147 billion or 28.6% of the budgeted funds for the year.

PH 'on track' in some sustainable devt goals, behind on others

The Philippines is on track to achieving a number of goals in the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, but is falling behind on others, the state statistics bureau said. Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Asst. National Statistician Wilma Guillen said the country has made progress in eight out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. She said the Philippines is on track on achieving the target to “reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women & children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions." However, she also noted that the country was "regressing” when it came to sustaining “at least 7 percent GDP growth per annum” which is recommended for the “least developed countries". The Philippines is also losing ground when it came to achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all, including young people and persons with disabilities, as well as equal pay for work of equal value.

NTC still 'studying' SIM registration deadline extension

Regulators and stakeholders are still studying the possible extension of the SIM registration deadline on April 26, National Telecommunications Commission Deputy Commissioner Jon Paulo Salvahan said on Monday, less than 10 days before the law-mandated time limit. All the country's major telco players have urged the government to extend the deadline, citing the lack of IDs and digital capabilities as roadblocks to SIM registration.

Marcos says PH rice supply 'in good shape' amid rising prices

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Thursday said the country has enough rice supply after reports that rice prices may increase by P5 per kilo. The Department of Agriculture, which the President temporarily heads, earlier said prices of unmilled rice have reached P23 per kilo, higher than the P19 procurement price of the National Food Authority (NFA). It added that the country's buffer stock is currently at 51 days, lower than the ideal 90 days to keep rice prices stable. The agency attributed this to the low rice imports. But Marcos said the government is looking for ways to maintain the prices of rice in the market.

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