DTI: ‘We can already see path to recovery’

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DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said the recorded gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of -11.5 percent in the third quarter of this year still conforms with the country’s economic recovery trajectory, coming from the previous quarter’s -16.9% during the peak of the Covid-19 health crisis.

“While the decline in GDP growth can be attributed to the slow market demand for goods and services that were brought about by the global pandemic, we can already see the path to recovery,” Lopez explained.

“We are hopeful that we will see more improvements as we continue to reopen our economy while still observing minimum health protocols,” he added.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the industries that mostly contributed to the GDP growth were financial and insurance activities (6.2 percent); public administration and defense, compulsory social activities (4.5 percent) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (1.2 percent).

Moving forward, the government is still targeting to achieve a V-shaped growth trajectory for 2020 and 2021 while continuously working to ensure the resumption of local business activities.

In the meantime, necessary stimulus and support interventions are being employed to compensate for the recorded quarterly GDP declines.

“In an effort to re-stimulate jobs and provide livelihoods, DTI has already eased restrictions and pushed for the reopening of more businesses. We’ve already reached up to 75 percent and 100 percent operating capacities, and we’re confident this will save jobs and boost consumer confidence,” the trade chief said.

“However, we need to ensure that minimum health standards are observed to control the transmission of the virus. We need to stay on course in keeping ourselves safe as we go back to work,” he added.

Rebound in exports

The country’s merchandise exports rebounded strongly in September of this year with a 2.2 percent growth. This marked the first time that exports manifested a positive growth rate since the onset of the pandemic, after dropping 50 percent at the height of the lockdown in April.

In the latest impact assessment of Covid-19 on the micro, small and medium enterprises sector conducted by the DTI in September, only five percent of businesses remain closed. This indicated a substantial decline from the recorded 35 percent during the impact assessment conducted in June and from 10 percent in August. / PR