CLARK FREEPORT -- Election spending will likely boost the conservative 2.6 to 3.6 percent Growth Domestic Product (GDP) forecast of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) this year.

Finance Secretary Gary Teves bared this during Friday’s Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) road show.

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Teves said election spending can shore up the economy by giving an additional 0.34 percentage points to GDP.

The projection is based on the 2007 elections for senators, house seats and local government officials that gave additional income from television, news, rentals, food, shirts and other election materials, said Teves.

Despite a possible mild El Nino, Teves said the Neda is maintaining its conservative 2.6 -3.6 GDP growth forecast for this year, which is even with the 3.1 percent forecast of the International Monetary Fund (IMF); 3.3 percent by the Asian Development Bank (ADB); and 3.5 percent forecast for the Philippines of the World Bank.

The GDP growth last year will be buoyed up by the significant fourth quarter recovery of the export sector, including the remittances from the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), said Teves.

The fourth quarter growth of exports in 2009, according to him, will likely pull up the projection of 0.8 percent to one percent or a bit higher.

Teves said the Bureau of Internal Revenue has already collected some P100 million in campaign related tax from the national level.  This is expected to increase with local revenue offices reporting their local collection in the coming weeks.

He also said the improved economic performance is also due to effective collection programs implemented by the Finance department.