Pernia to Congress: Pass 2020 budget on time to ensure economic growth
MANILA, Philippines – Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia called on the 18th Congress to pass the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 on time so as not to hamper economic growth.
Pernia made the appeal to lawmakers as the House committee on appropriations, chaired by Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab, kicked off the deliberations on the 2020 budget on Thursday, August 22.
"We look forward to the timely passage of the 2020 national budget. And this is a good start, Mr Chairman, so as not to derail our next year's economic growth," said the director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
According to Pernia, President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers have set the country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth target at 6% to 7% in 2019, 6.5% to 7.5% in 2020, and 7% to 8% in 2020 to 2022. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Dismal growth: Why is the PH economy losing its momentum?)
The NEDA chief said the Philippines will only be able to achieve its target for 2020 if the budget is passed on time or before December 31, 2019.
Economic managers want to prevent a repeat of what happened this year, as they are playing catch up after the delayed passage of the 2019 budget.
"With the 5.5% real growth [turnout] in the 1st semester of 2019, the economy needs to expand by a net average of at least 6.4% in the 2nd half of the year to reach the low end of the target of 6% for 2019," said Pernia.
The 2019 budget's passage was delayed for months after accusations of alleged parking of funds, illegal budget insertions, and conflicts between Congress and the Cabinet hounded last year's budget deliberations.
The impact of politicians bickering over the 2019 budget still lingers on, as the country's GDP settled below target at 5.5% in the 2nd quarter of 2019.
On Thursday, Pernia also asked lawmakers to begin considering extending the validity of the 2019 budget until the end of 2020.
"This early, we also need to consider extending the validity of the 2019 budget to possibly, the end of 2020," he said.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano already said the House is targeting to pass the 2020 budget before the 18th Congress takes a break in October. Once the House is done scrutinizing the budget, it will then be transmitted to the Senate for further inspection. Duterte will only be able to sign the 2020 budget into law after both houses of Congress approve it. – Rappler.com