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Economic inclusion drive on track

Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III has assured the public that the government is on track to achieving its targets for high growth and economic inclusion as it continues to enjoy a sound fiscal position notwithstanding massive investments in its centerpiece “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

According to Dominguez, the higher revenue take from excise taxes, which is a result of the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law, is expected to go up further with the succeeding packages of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program that the DOF is pushing in the Congress.

He said the shift from quantitative restrictions on rice to tariffs on imports will also give an extra boost to government revenues and, more importantly, pull down the retail cost of this staple primarily for the benefit of low-income families.

“All in all, we remain in a good fiscal position notwithstanding the massive investments the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program entails. We are well on our way to achieving all our growth and economic inclusion targets,” Dominguez said.

“Our optimism is supported by our prudence,” Dominguez added. “The future looks well.”

Dominguez said an even more aggressive spending from hereon on the “Build, Build, Build” program and other poverty-reduction initiatives would let the Duterte Administration hit its target of a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) expansion of 7 percent or better and a reduced poverty-incidence rate of 14 percent over the medium term.

“President Duterte’s commitment to attaining an investment-led and inclusive economy via a massive public spending strategy would usher in what the Asian Development Bank has forecast to be the ‘golden age’ of the? Philippines’ economic growth?,” said Dominguez, following today’s announcement by the Philippine Statistical Authority of a GDP growth of 6.8 percent in the year’s first quarter.

The PSA said in its report that the industry sector recorded the fastest growth at 7.9 percent, while the services sector expanded 7.0 percent and agriculture. 1.5 percent.

According to the PSA, the services sector had the highest contribution to GDP growth with 4.0 percentage points, followed by industry with 2.7 percentage points and agriculture with 0.1 percentage points.