Gov’t re­mains firm in im­ple­ment­ing in­fra projects

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Business -

MANILA -- The gov­ern­ment re­mains com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment­ing the coun­try’s ag­gres­sive in­fra­struc­ture pro­gram de­spite sug­ges­tions that it needs to pri­or­i­tize projects to re­duce the ris­ing trade deficit.

So­cioe­co­nomic Plan­ning Sec­re­tary Ernesto Per­nia said in­fra­struc­ture projects un­der the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) pro­gram will be ‘high-pri­or­ity’ items, while those least es­sen­tial may be put in the back burner.

“We haven’t made a de­ci­sion to slow down on the Build, Build, Build. Even with the (pro­posed) sus­pen­sion of the ex­cise tax in 2019, we con­sider the Build, Build, Build pro­gram as the pri­or­ity pro­gram,” he told re­porters Thurs­day in a press brief­ing.

Rey­naldo Can­cio, direc­tor of the Na­tional Eco­nomic and De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (NEDA) Na­tional Pol­icy and Plan­ning Staff (NPPS), noted it is more im­por­tant for the coun­try to in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture con­sid­er­ing that ris­ing in­fla­tion is mainly caused by is­sues in the sup­ply side of the econ­omy.

“So, the goal is to build in­fra­struc­ture to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity, im­prove mo­bil­ity be­tween the re­gions so food prod­ucts be­tween the food pro­duc­tion ar­eas and the de­vel­oped ar­eas where these are needed,” he said.

The gov­ern­ment has iden­ti­fied 75 pri­or­ity in­fra­struc­ture pro­grams un­der the BBB pro­gram, most of which are roads, bridges and air­ports that are seen to help boost the econ­omy, most es­pe­cially in the far-flung com­mu­ni­ties of Min­danao.

May­bank Kim Eng se­nior econ­o­mist Chua Hak Bin ear­lier urged the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment to pri­or­i­tize projects un­der its mas­sive in­fra­struc­ture pro­gram amid the coun­try’s ris­ing deficit on trade and cur­rent ac­count.

Gov­ern­ment data in­di­cates the coun­try’s trade deficit rose to USD3.51 bil­lion in Au­gust from the USD2.74 bil­lion same month of last year, driven by strong growth of im­ports. (PNA)

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