NEDA chief sees 2015 growth at 6% despite typhoons

By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA, Dec. 17 (PNA) — The government is optimistic about achieving its target economic growth of 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter despite the devastation wrought by typhoons, ending the year with a growth of at least six percent.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the impacts of typhoons hitting the country in October to December quarter, particularly the recent typhoon “Nona”, were also factored in their economic growth projections.

Balisacan also recalled typhoon “Lando” which struck extreme northern Luzon in October.

“They were damaging, there were serious damage in infrastructures but not really in magnitude that could adequately make a dent on our growth prospects,” he stressed in a press briefing.

“Six percent is achievable and the indications so far are quite favorable… So far, as the full-year growth is concerned, we don’t think it will have substantially impact,” he added.

Balisacan, who is also National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general, said typhoon-affected agriculture sector represents less than 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

He added that regions affected by typhoons have also lesser share in agricultural output.

The economy needs to grow 5.9 percent in the fourth quarter to hit a 6-percent full-year growth. GDP averaged 5.6 percent in the first three quarters.

The NEDA chief earlier hoped that growth trajectory would be sustained in the fourth quarter due to the expected increase in domestic demand during the holiday season. (PNA)