The National Economic and Development Authority reports that the manufacturing sector grew in March 2017 following the increased production in petroleum products, food, and transport equipment.

NEDA-attached agency Philippine Statistics Authority released its Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) showing that the Volume of Production Index (VoPI) for manufacturing grew by 11.1 percent in March 2017.

This is higher than the 8.2 percent growth recorded in the same month last year.

“We must continue to foster a competitive and innovative environment to help the manufacturing sector realize its full potential as a growth driver,” said NEDA Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Undersecretary Rolando Tungpalan.

“The sector is expected to benefit from the sustained growth economic momentum and increasing infrastructure and human capital investments. It can also benefit from the country’s ‘BBB-’ or ‘good quality rating’ with a positive outlook for both foreign and local currency denominated obligations,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Value of Production (VaPI) grew by 12.2 percent in March 2017 from 0.8 percent during the same period in the previous year.

For consumer goods, food manufactures posted a growth of 23.4 percent in volume and 20.0 percent in value of production. Tungpalan explains that this is due to the sustained domestic demand for basic goods, particularly for food and beverages.

For intermediate goods, petroleum products soared in both volume and value of production registering a growth of 61.5 and 94.9 percent, recovering from its contraction in the same period last year.

For capital goods, fabricated metal products boomed by 74.4 percent in volume and 15.1 percent in value of production, while transport equipment sustained its momentum.

“This momentum signals the desire of the sector to support the government’s ambitious infrastructure development program. As such, we must push for the adoption of innovative technological advancements to increase the productivity of local producers and enterprises,” said Tungpalan.

The increase in production of construction-related manufactures was backed by the strong demand for residential and commercial development, as well as the increased spending on public infrastructure.

However, the NEDA Official warned of the upward risks to inflation as well as possible external risks.

“We must keep diversifying our market and increase our attractiveness to investors by addressing legal impediments that restrict foreign participation, minimizing regulatory burden, and reducing the cost of doing business in the country,” said Tungpalan.

Tungpalan is NEDA’s OIC while Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia is on official travel for the World Economic Forum in Cambodia.