Eastern Visayas keeps 5.4% growth target until 2016-A A +A
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
EASTERN Visayas is keeping its annual 5.4 percent average economic growth target until 2016 even though the region only achieved 1.8 percent increase in last year’s gross regional development product (GRDP), an official of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) said.
Neda Regional Director Bonifacio Uy is optimistic that the economic goal is still attainable especially with the growing budget for infrastructures and new investment opportunities in the region.
“Strategies have been identified to attain the target. We just need to perform more and get the participation of the private sector,” Uy said in a press briefing.
Uy said various National Government agencies are stepping up its ties with business sectors engaged in the three thrusts identified by the Regional Development Council (RDC) - agribusiness, ecotourism, and information and communications technology (ICT).
The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported that last year’s regional economic growth further slipped to 1.8 percent from two percent in 2010. The region is the third lowest among the 17 regions in the country in GRDP growth.
NSCB regional head Evangeline Paran said Eastern Visayas contributed only 2.6 percent to the country’s gross domestic oroduct, settling in the tenth rank among the 17 regions.
The region’s economic figure is way below than the 6.2 percent of Central Visayas and four percent of Western Visayas.
Paran said that slow growth in 2011 is due to weak performance of the service sector, which accounts 35.6 percent of the regional economy. The sector – the region’s second contributor – declined from 6.1 percent in 2010 to 4.1 percent last year.
Industry sector had the biggest share to the local economy accounting 44 percent, largely influenced by activities of Philippines Associated Smelting and Refinery Corporation and the Philippine Phosphate Corporation in Isabel, Leyte.
Though the region comprised of vast agricultural land, the agribusiness sector is the lowest contributor to the local economy pegged at only 20.5 percent.
“This is very surprising that industry sector is the biggest contributor. More people are engaged in agriculture but their value of production is lower than other sectors. The farming sector is performing below its potential,” Uy said.
To achieve 5.4 percent economic growth from 2012 to 2016, Uy is counting on massive public investments in infrastructure projects such as the Samar Pacific Coastal Road, Millennium Challenge Corporation-funded road projects in Samar Island, completion of the Help for Catubig Agriculture Advancement Project, and Leyte water supply expansion.
In terms of agribusiness, the Neda official is expecting a rebound with focused government assistance on high-value products such as rice, coconut, abaca, and aquaculture, as well as better access to financing for farm-related investments.
“There have been efforts to improve the Tacloban Airport, which will contribute to the growth in tourism sector,” Uy said.
From 2004 to 2009, Eastern Visayas’ GRDP grew at an average rate of 3.6 percent, short of the Regional Development Plan target of 6.1 percent and the average national growth rate of 4.8 percent. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)