Philippines can become upper-middle-income country by 2024 says NEDA

·3 min read
FILE Philippines' Socioeconomic Planning chief Arsenio Balisacan delivers a speech at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit.
FILE PHOTO: Philippines' Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan addresses the 2015 Sustainable Development Summit, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan has claimed that the Philippines is on its way to becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2024 if the current economic growth is sustained.

In a briefing on Tuesday (July 26), Balisacan said that the Marcos administration is also aiming to reduce poverty incidence to single-digit or 9% by the end of Marcos’s term in 2028.

"At the rate we’re going we should be reaching that minimum of $4,250 in 2024. By that time we will become a member of the upper middle-income class," said Balisacan, who is also the current National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general.

The Philippines’ gross national income (GNI) stands at $3,640 in 2021 as of July 1 according to World Bank data. An upper-middle-income country has a GNI per capita of between $4,256-13,205.

GNI refers to the total income generated by a country’s residents within and outside its borders.

"It's so crucial that we’re able to grow quickly and sustain that growth because that’s the most sustainable way of reducing poverty," Balisacan said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) said that he expects the Philippines to grow by 6.5% to 7.5% in 2022 and up 8% in 2023 until 2028.

To achieve this, the administration would implement a comprehensive 8-point economic agenda which includes addressing rising prices and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and creating more jobs, among others.

‘Just a number’

Even if the administration’s goal is achieved, it will still be “just a number” according to think tank IBON Foundation citing the country’s weakest economy and worst joblessness in decades.

“Even if the Philippines meets the requisite minimum [for upper-middle income], this will be while agriculture and manufacturing are treading their lowest shares of the economy in over 70 years,” IBON said in February.

“That so-called upper-middle income status is incongruous while millions of Filipinos suffer joblessness or poor-quality work,” the economic group added.

The independent think tank said that it won’t affect ordinary Filipinos as the gains will only be concentrated in a few families and their corporations.

“The net worth of the top 40 richest Filipinos grew from the equivalent of 13 percent of GDP in 2006 to 20 percent in 2021, indicating a worsening concentration of economic power; this includes their wealth jumping 30 percent in 2021 amid growing poverty and unemployment,” it said.

“There are some 18 million poor and vulnerable families nationwide with low incomes and no savings. The government is trying to hide or at least distract from this reality by hyping the Philippines about to become an upper-middle income country.”

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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