NEDA wants sectors to diversify

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) wants sectors of the Philippine economy to diversify their products and markets and build resiliency to support higher growth.

The country’s chief economist, NEDA director-general Ernesto Pernia says: “We need to champion innovation and diversification in the industry sector as it is still heavily dependent on external demand.

Pernia says the services sector, on the other hand, need for a policy environment that makes it easier for firms to set up and operate businesses, as well as to comply with regulations.

“In this respect, we need to make our regulatory system much more efficient and transparent,” he noted.

The NEDA chief expects the industry and services sectors to remain strong this year.

“The construction industry, in particular, will be in the limelight following the government’s aggressive commitment to approve and implement critical infrastructure projects,” he said.

The Philippine economy expanded 6.8 percent in 2016, with services contributing 4.3 percent and industry sharing 2.7 percent. The agriculture sector contributed negative 0.1 percent.

The agriculture sector returned to negative territory at 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, reeling from the effects of typhoons “Karen” and “Lawin” during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Pernia identified extreme weather disturbances like the El Nino among the risks to economic growth which is projected at 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent this year.

“The country remains vulnerable to very strong typhoons. There is a strong call to develop our agriculture sector and make it resilient to such shocks.”