Sustained momentum-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Friday, January 25, 2013
IF past trends are to be made basis, the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) 7 has reason to believe the economy of Central Visayas grew by six percent “at the very least”.
An economic situation report prepared by Neda 7 Assistant Regional Director Efren Carreon stated that past trends show the region’s growth is faster than that of the national economy.
According to the report, Central Visayas posted 12.5 percent GRDP (gross regional domestic product) in 2010, the highest growth in the country that year, and 7.5 percent in 2011, second to the Caraga’s 9.6 percent growth.
Carreon pointed out that compared with the Philippine economy, which grew by 7.6 percent in 2010 and 3.9 percent in 2011, Central Visayas has consistently shown stronger growth.
“I am glad to report that preliminary indicators suggest that the Central Visayas economy was able to sustain the economic growth momentum realized in 2010 and 2011,” Carreon said.
Carreon said that many leading industries continued to turn in good performances in 2012.
With the Philippine economy growing 6.5 percent for the first nine months of 2012, they are confident that the region posted a high growth for the whole year, citing the last two years showing Central Visayas surpassing the national average.
For Neda 7, industry and services are what drive the region’s economy. Carreon said the sustained expansion of outsourcing and tourism markets fueled the growth of construction, real estate, transportation, retail trade and banking sectors. The high level of consumption among families of overseas Filipino workers is also seen as benefitting the retail trade and real estate sectors.
Citing a report from the Cebu Investment Promotion Center (CIPC), Carreon said 17 new foreign business process outsourcing companies opened in Cebu, majority of which were from the non-voice sector, a sector that requires high value-added skills.
Aside from the new locators, existing companies like Accenture Philippines and Stream Global Services expanded, providing more employment opportunities in the region.
In retail, store chains expanded operations while Cebu also saw new players joining the retail industry in Central Visayas. These included the new operations of SM Consolacion, Gaisano Grand Mall in Talamban, 7 Eleven, Mini Stop and Wilcon Builders Depot.
Carreon said retailers took advantage of increased consumerism and improved spending capability among residents here, as the purchasing power of consumers has risen due to the availability of well-paying jobs in the BPO sector and the steady remittances of OFWs.
The report also cited real estate and construction as among the sectors that benefitted from the expansion of other industries.
“More and bigger projects were stated in 2012 to support the expansion of the outsourcing, retail trade and tourism industries. The real estate and construction industries benefitted from the steady demand for real property investments from OFWs,” the report said.
The report noted data from the National Statistics Office showing an increasing trend in the number and value of construction projects of hotels, office buildings, stores and residential condominiums.
The Board of Investments also indicated 13 out of 24 projects registered with them in 2012 were for mass housing and hotel construction. The total estimated cost of these projects reached P4.3 billion, representing nearly 10 percent of total investments registered with the BOI in 2012.
Growth of real estate and construction has remained steady in the past two years as both sectors posted double-digit growth since 2010. They are also considered among the key contributors to the region’s economic growth.
Construction was the highest performing industry in 2011, with a growth rate of 21.5 percent while real estate services were the best performing sector at 10 percent.
The report also showed positive figures in tourism, shipping, aviation and exports, although the data available only covered the first half of 2012.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 25, 2013.