The Aquino government would focus on four priority areas of reforms over the next one-and-a-half years which are considered critical by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Economic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan stressed that in the last 15 months of the Aquino administration, the government would guard against future increases in food prices.
Balisacan noted that the gains from increased incomes were unfortunately negated by faster and higher inflation in food prices especially of rice. “There is a need to revisit the grains sector policy, particularly the quantitative restrictions on rice imports. The government needs to weigh the benefits of this policy deemed favorable to rice farmers, as we are seeing its negative impact on poor consumers and the Philippine economy as a whole.”
“We are pushing for a sounder package of policy reforms and programs to enhance agricultural productivity that will increase farmers’ incomes.”
Balisacan pointed out the need to reduce further the cost of doing business. “While both domestic and foreign businesses remain optimistic, business prospects in 2015 are conservative. To address this and ensure a stable business environment, there is a pressing need to address infrastructure bottlenecks, port congestion, and power woes.”
“We should strengthen support for the passage of anti-trust or competition law to improve the country’s business climate and competitiveness. This will encourage firms to innovate and improve the quality of goods and services that they provide,” said Balisacan.
The government would ensure that there is a strengthened and reliable social protection in place so that people and businesses will have the confidence to adjust to changes brought about by various reforms being implemented, said Balisacan.
“We should also revisit the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management law to improve the coordination system and institutional arrangement in terms of disaster response management. More importantly, we must invest more in prevention and mitigation to build better and more resilient communities.”
With only one and a half years remaining, the government is working double time in delivering the commitments of the current administration. “We need to continue the momentum of reforms in economy and governance, even as we face even greater challenges as we approach 2016,” Balisacan added.