A VISITING International Monetary Fund (IMF) team expects the Philippine economy to strengthen amid global headwinds, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said on Thursday.
Following the second quarter’s lower-than-expected 4.3-percent expansion, IMF officials “said the Philippine economy has the potential to catch up in the second half of the year and faster growth in 2024 despite signs of a global slowdown compared to 2023,” Romualdez’s office said in a statement.
The team, led by former IMF resident representative to the country Jay Pereis, flew in last week for regular Article IV consultations with local officials. A formal briefing about the results of the visit will be held on October 3.
“This forecast is not only encouraging but also a testament to the resilience and hard work of our nation’s people, as well as the sound economic policies and reforms implemented by the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.,” Romualdez — a cousin of Marcos — said in the statement.
The government is targeting 6.0- to 7.0-percent growth this year. The disappointing second-quarter result meant growth was just 5.3 percent as of end-June. Economic managers have said that hitting the goal would be challenging but was still achievable.
Among others, the IMF team was said to have cited the expected early enactment of next year’s national budget as well as the approval of various laws that would give the country an improved competitive edge.
Romualdez said the “positive outlook from the IMF should serve as motivation for us all to redouble our efforts in revitalizing our economy. It is a reminder that our nation has the potential to rebound and emerge stronger from any adversity,” he added.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the proposed P5.768-trillion 2024 national budget and Romualdez said legislators were also expected to pass 20 priority measures identified by the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council.
The IMF team was also said to have noted that it would be a “very good idea” for the Philippines to train and enable its workforce to utilize artificial intelligence, particularly in the business process outsourcing industry where the country has a competitive advantage.
Also recommended were further regulatory improvements to hasten the processing of permits and documentation required for investments and businesses as well as the implementation of laws against money laundering.
“We understand that there is still work to be done to ensure this projection becomes a reality. The government will continue to focus on policies that promote economic stability, job creation and sustainable growth,” Romualdez said.
“We will also work to improve the investment climate and further enhance our economic resilience in the face of external shocks,” he added.