Legarda to hold meeting to discuss 2019 growth targets

MANILA Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on Finance, is eyeing to conduct a meeting with concerned government agencies to discuss strategies on how to meet the 2019 growth targets amid the impact of the budget delay on the country's projected economic growth.

Legarda made the announcement following a committee hearing Monday on the status of implementation of the 2018 budget and the effect of the four-month re-enacted budget for 2019.

Legarda stressed that accelerated spending can still allow the government to reach its growth targets.

She particularly noted that the panel could discuss ways forward for the Department of Agriculture to meet the annual two percent growth target for the agriculture sector.

She suggested that there should be sustained efforts in improving the environment and conditions for farmers, particularly in providing fertilizer and access to roads and addressing irrigation, climate change, and other land issues.

The senator also added that agricultural research must be improved and convergence among agencies in rural and agricultural areas must be strengthened.

Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the growth target for the first quarter of 2019 is between 6.6 and 7.2 percent. However, the impasse on the 2019 budget, among other factors, caused the government to reach an amount of PHP1 billion underspending per day, decelerated GDP growth by 5.6 percent, and affected the implementation of programs for the first quarter of the year.

May this be a lesson for the government and for all of us. The underspending of Php 1 billion per day could have gone to education, health care, and social services. It resulted in the delay of programs and greatly affected the lives of our constituents," said Legarda in a statement.

"However, we are confident with the commitment of the DOF and of the government to drive our economy to the growth we aim for, as well as to ensure that the government continues to deliver quality services and programs to the people. We must not only meet our growth targets, but also ensure that the lives of Filipinos are improved," Legarda added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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