Finance chief sees zero to negative economic growth in 2020 as COVID-19 hits PH hard
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ economy was hit by the coronavirus crisis “in a very hard way” that it could suffer contraction or a zero growth output this year.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez made the forecast this Thursday in a televised press briefing with President Duterte and other members of the Cabinet, noting that their estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth this year would be as low as 0 to -1 percent.
He also reported that unemployment is estimated at 1.2 million workers.
“Ngayon, itong COVID-19 has hit us in a very hard way. Ang katotohanan lang, ang estimate natin our GDP growth will be zero or minus one percent,” Dominguez said.
“Ang temporary unemployment natin will be 1.2 million workers. Pero this is — this is in comparison with the lowest unemployment rate ever achieved in the Philippines,” he added.
Meanwhile, the budget deficit is expected to increase from 3.2 percent to 5.3 percent this year, added Dominguez.
“In other words, we will be spending more than we are collecting but we will be spending more in order to save the people and make sure that they have food on the table during this time,” he said.
Dominguez, however, said the country is “well-prepared” for the crisis as the economy was in a stellar position prior to the emergence of the health crisis.
“We are confident ho na we have the financial capability to bridge this problem of the COVID-19 has brought us,” Dominguez said.
“So we want to assure all our citizens na at this point in time, we have the money although we have to realize na hindi naman endless ‘yung pera na ito. So kailangan we have to spend it correctly, hindi ‘yung for wasteful expenditures,” he added.
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