December 5, 2019

The extension in the validity of the 2019 national budget and the timely passage of the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA) are needed to sustain the implementation of construction-related activities and help drive growth in the manufacturing sector, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the total manufacturing index declined in October 2019. The year-on-year Volume of Production Index (VoPI) declined by 3.7 percent while the Value of Production Index (VaPI) was 4.3 percent lower relative to the same month last year.

This is the tenth consecutive month in 2019 that both volume and value indices were in the negative territory.

“Despite manufacturing’s performance, business and consumer outlook remains positive with the anticipation of higher consumer spending during the holiday season, a much favorable macroeconomic condition, and a likely recovery in government spending on infrastructure,” said NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development and Officer-in-Charge Adoracion M. Navarro.

She added that the proposal to extend the validity of the 2019 budget is a welcome move to make up for the delayed 2019 GAA. Likewise, the passage of the proposed 2020 national budget by the end of the year is important to sustain the implementation of construction-related activities.

“The extension in the validity of the 2019 budget is important not just for the construction of infrastructure projects but also for critical pre-feasibility, feasibility, and other project development studies,” said Navarro.

Furthermore, she said that accelerating the implementation of the infrastructure development programs and continued investment on human capital development in the remaining months of 2019 is critical to achieve the national government’s targeted disbursement.

“We are glad that the Department of Public Works and Highways and other infrastructure-focused agencies, the Department of Education, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development have signified commitment to accelerate their respective disbursements for the rest of the year,” said Navarro.

The NEDA official also said that fast tracking the passage of the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act, and the proposed amendments on the Foreign Investments Act, Public Service Act, and Retail Trade Act are highly supported to help eliminate policy uncertainties and enable investment and business expansions in the country.

Navarro is currently the OIC while Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia is on official travel abroad.