Philippine to grow faster than regional peers – NEDA

MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has expressed confidence in the Philippines’ growth momentum as it expects the country to grow faster than many of its peers in the region.

During the bilateral meeting and business forum with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Israel Ambassador Ilan Fluss, and members of the Israeli business community, NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan emphasized the economy remains resilient as it grew by 7.6 percent in 2022 and expanded by 6.4 percent in the first quarter this year.

“The momentum remains strong. Various multilateral institutions project that the country will be among emerging Asia’s brightest economies this year, despite the external headwinds of the global economic slowdown. We expect to grow faster than many of our peers in the region,” he said.

The Marcos government has set a six to seven percent growth target for the economy this year.

In its Asian Development Outlook report released last April, the Asian Development Bank said it expects the Philippines to post the second fastest growth in Southeast Asia at six percent this year, next to Vietnam’s 6.5 percent.

The World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific Economic Update released earlier this year showed the multilateral lender also expects the Philippines to be among those with the highest growth rates in Southeast Asia at 5.6 percent in 2023, with Vietnam taking the lead and projected to grow by 6.3 percent.

Balisacan emphasized that strategies aimed at leading the country towards deep economic and social transformation under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023 to 2028 would help sustain the economic growth momentum.

The PDP also includes strategies that seek to improve the overall business climate of the country through reforms that will ensure the regulatory constraints that hinder the location and expansion of foreign business operations in the Philippines are relaxed and investor concerns are addressed.

“I note that the Philippine economy has never been more open and ready for business. The continued investment policy reform momentum, including efforts to improve the ease of doing business through digitalization, shall ensure that the country remains competitive and dynamic,” Balisacan said.

He encouraged Israeli firms to consider investing in the Philippines particularly in growth drivers in the fields of energy, water, logistics, transportation, agribusiness, manufacturing, tourism, health, education, and digital connectivity.

Balisacan said the country has a potential market of approximately 110 million consumers, as well as a growing young and skilled workforce.

With the country’s participation to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, firms that invest in the Philippines will also be able to access the markets of other members of the trade deal.

Cohen said Israel is ready to assist the Philippines in critical areas to achieve economic growth.

“Today’s engagement only signifies the strengthening relations between the Philippines and Israel. There is a lot of potential in your beautiful country, and I hope that my visit here enacts a bridge connecting our business community to your country in the hopes of increasing investments, trade volume, innovation, and, more importantly, prosperity for both nations,” he said.