Palace respects opinion of IMF – Remonde

April 25, 2009 1:04 am 

MANILA, April 24 — Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said today Malacañang respects the International Monetary Fund (IMF) zero growth projection of the Philippines gross domestic product (GDP) this year, saying that the views of global financial intermediaries such as the IMF matter a lot to all countries.

The IMF has been entrusted to disburse the trillion dollar stimulus funds committed by the G20 countries.

In his regular Friday news conference held at the NBN4 studio in Quezon City, Remonde said even the most pessimistic or cynical will have to agree that the possibility of a zero growth for the Philippines this year will still be much better than the negative growth already being experienced by many other countries, especially those in the West.

“After all, zero growth also means zero recession, which all of us is afraid of,” he said.

Remonde said, however, that the IMF failed to fully appreciate or give credit to the country’s economic fundamentals and the resiliency of the economy which have enabled it to grow in the midst of the global recession.

He stressed that factors that have enabled the Philippines to weather the global financial crisis thus far are:

— overseas remittances which have consistently outperformed past expectations and continue to support domestic demand;

— prudential strength of the innately conservative financial sector which was hardly hit by the subprime crisis that triggered the recession;

— fiscal reserves, which the government has carefully husbanded in order to fund the country’s counter cyclical stimulus programs; and

— the ample monetary space that allows our Central Bank to continue effectively deploy the tools at its disposal.

“Considering our strengths, we can live with the IMF’s zero growth outlook as no more than just a worse case scenario. But we will continue to plan for positive albeit slower growth this year as our best case,” Remonde said.

He added that the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) data on current rates ranges from 3.1 percent to 3.7 percent for this year.

NEDA will release its full justification for this as an alternative forecast to IMF, he added. (PNA)

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