MANILA – Super typhoon Yolanda should not be the Philippine government’s scapegoat for the slow growth in the economy in the first quarter of 2014.
Economist Solita Monsod, in an interview with radio dzRB, said the government’s excuse “does not hold water,” pointing out that Yolandas ravages were felt specifically in the Eastern Visayas section last year, and not across the whole nation.
“This national income growth is for the whole country, [Yolanda] happened in Eastern Visayas,” she stated.
“Did investments really come in? The government is such a braggart. The government talks too much. Were expenditures really there? The private sector is even confident of the Philippine economy,” Monsod expounded.
The government has been pointing to the lingering effects of super typhoon Yolanda as a reason for the slow growth rate of the economy, recorded at a snail-paced 5.7 percent, within the 1st quarter of 2014. This is much lower than the median estimates of 20 Reuters analysts, who forecast the rate of growth at 6.4 percent.
“The relatively slow growth is expected, given the magnitude of the destruction in production capacity. In agriculture, permanent crops, notably coconuts, were felled. Damage to agricultural output also disrupted supply chains, which may partly explain why food manufacturing output also declined. The tourism and insurance industries likewise slowed down in the first quarter as they are still reeling from the impact of natural calamities last year,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Arsenio Balisacan said.
Monsod said that she could not pinpoint what may have caused the tapering of the economic growth, adding that the government usually has detailed explanations as to which sectors contributed to or affected the economy.
“But this one, I did not see,” she said.
In reaction, Monsod urged the government to fast-track the public-private partnership (PPP) programs to prop up and improve economic growth.