NEDA chief Chua: Economy starting to ‘U-turn’ towards recovery

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Karl Kendrick Chua said Tuesday the Philippine economy is starting to “U-turn” amid the continuous increase of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“We are starting to see a U-turn in the trajectory of economic activity and manufacturing production. While we are not yet in the positive territory, we are hoping that we can continue to manage this recovery as best as we can,” Chua said in a statement.

The latest Philippine Statistics Authority data showed manufacturing and trade industries are starting to show indications of recovery.

The volume of production index in June improved with -19% compared to -39% in April. Exports also grew from -50% in April to -13% in June.

Specifically, exports to China improved from -55% in April to 2.8% in June as the Chinese economy also recovers in the second semester.

Meanwhile, imports also recovered gradually from a significant contraction of -65% in April to a slower contraction of -25% in June.

The Philippine economy recorded its worst in 40 years after it shrank 16.5 percent in the second quarter.

The negative gross domestic product () from January to March and April to June also dragged the Philippines to a technical recession, the first time since 1991.

The economic contraction was blamed in the long months of to control the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Also read: PH gets $125-M loan from ADB to boost COVID-19 testing capacity

Chua explains PH economy recovery plan

According to Chua, the government’s economic recovery programs involve three areas: the Build Build Build program, the 2021 national , and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or “.”

The Pillars 1 and 2 of the government’s recovery program allocates P655 billion to aid some 18 million low-income households and 3.1 million workers of small businesses. It also covers the improvement of the country’s healthcare system.

“Moving forward, we are optimistic that the Bayanihan 2 will help the country bounce back from the crisis with its improved provisions on the healthcare system, public , and restoring consumer demand,” Chua said.

“There’s no way for the Philippines to complete its structural transformation if we don’t make the agriculture sector productive. We have already taken huge steps through the Rice Tariffication Law and the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund. We can also do more through our infrastructure and logistics programs,” he added.