Gov't investment in social services to help cut poverty

July 18, 2012 11:34 pm 

MANILA, July 18 — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said government's investment in social services, respectable economic growth and stable inflation could help reduce poverty.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the proposed P2.006-trillion budget next year was designed so government’s programs will have a significant dent on poverty and development targets will be achieved earlier.

Balisacan further said that the social services will receive a huge share of next year’s budget.

“The government’s proposed budget for 2013 is P2.006 trillion, which is 10.5 percent higher than the P1.816 trillion budget this year. Next year, almost a third of the budget will go to social services,” he said.

According to the official poverty statistics by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the proportion of poor Filipinos was 28.4 percent in 2000, 24.9 percent in 2003, 26.4 percent in 2006, and 26.5 percent in 2009.

On the other hand, the country’s average three-year growth rates in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), or the value of goods and services produced domestically, ranging between 3.5 to 4.7 percent.

Balisacan said this year’s round of Family Income and Expenditure Survey, where poverty statistics are based, would hopefully yield better results, given the government’s massive investment in social services.

“I would be surprised if we don’t see a reduction in poverty in this year’s FIES given the expansion in social services and respectable growth. Another contributing factor would be inflation, which during this period has been very much tamed. Inflation is a very important determinant of poverty because it affects the purchasing power of the poor more than it does affect the rich,” he further said.

With the first-quarter GDP growth at 6.4 percent, Balisacan said that the government has a level of comfort that the high end of the 5 to 6-percent growth target for this year will be attained.

“Sustaining the growth momentum is one part of the challenge; the other is to ensure that this is more inclusive and shared by all,” he said. (PNA)



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