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DOF claims PHL still on track to meet growth target

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 5/18/2017 Sollorano, Vic
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The Philippines is still on track to meet its full-year economic growth target despite the output slowdown in the first quarter of the year, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Thursday.

"GDP (gross domestic product) expansion in the year's first three months illustrates that growth remains steady and could gain momentum for the rest of the year," Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in an emailed statement.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported the GDP expanded by 6.4 percent in the first quarter the slowest in more than a year since the economic output grew by 6.3 percent in the third quarter of 2015 and matched the 6.4 percent in the third quarter of the same year

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia earlier expected the economy to have grown by 7.0 percent in the first quarter, driven by an improvement in the agriculture sector.

The government targets to grow the economy by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent for the full-year 2017.

"Solid macroeconomic fundamentals plus strong domestic consumption and investment sentiment have enabled, and will continue to enable, our country to sustain its pace as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies on the Duterte watch despite the ever-changing global market conditions," Dominguez said.

In the same statement, Dominguez urged Congress to hasten the passage of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) to ensure sustained growth momentum.

"We hope our legislators could help Malacañang sustain the growth momentum this year and onwards by acting soon enough on the first package of the CTRP that is now pending in the Congress, as it will help guarantee a steady revenue stream for the Duterte administration’s high – and inclusive – growth agenda," he said.

Submitted to Congress in September, the first of four packages involves reducing the personal income tax and expanding the value-added tax base.

The government is also looking at raising the excise tax on gasoline to P10.00 per liter from the current P4.35 per liter, and to impose P6.00 per liter on diesel which currently has no excise tax.

The measure was approved by the House Committee on Ways and Means earlier this month. — Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News

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