Govt eyes more than P100-B stimulus package this year

January 4, 2010 10:58 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 4 – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the government will continue its stimulus package this year to support the country's economic recovery.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Augusto B. Santos said the country's stimulus package this year, called the Reloading for Economic Acceleration Plan (REAP), could be less than the P330-billion Economic Resiliency Plan (ERP), but more than P100 billion.

The ERP aims to save and create jobs; protect the poorest of the poor, returning overseas Filipino workers and workers in export industries; ensure low and stable prices to support consumer spending; and enhance competitiveness in preparation for the global rebound.

Santos said the REAP was included in the P1.54-trillion national budget for 2010 approved by Congress.

The Development and Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) sets 2010 deficit at P233.4 billion and may increase because of revenue shortfall.

"It [REAP] can be less than P330 billion because what we are saying is that we dont want to withdraw the stimulus but we can continue stimulus spending in 2010. Siguro naman (probably) it will be more than P100 billion," he said.

Santos said REAP would fund big-ticket infrastructure projects and help finance the increase in the coverage of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, which is estimated to cover 1 million families in 2010 from an estimated 700,000 families in 2009.

Santos said REAP will help stimulate economic growth this year.

DBCC sees gross domestic product (GDP) to expand between 2.6 percent and 3.6 percent this year, lower than its previous projection of 4.3 percent to 5.3 percent.

GDP measures the amount of goods and services produced in a country in a given period.

The committee trimmed the country’s GDP growth goal to between 0.8 percent and 1.8 percent this year from the previous program of 3.1 percent to 4.1 percent.

The cut came after the disappointing 0.4-percent GDP growth in the first quarter.

The first quarter GDP, however, revised to 0.6 percent. (PNA) RMA/DGA/utb

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