Wegotmail: Keynote speech of DOF Sec. Ralph Recto at EJAP-SMC Economic Forum 2024 (Part 2)

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A sustained high price of rice could continue to drive inflation, delaying the reduction of policy interest rates by the BSP and derailing the country’s economic growth trajectory.  

But rest assured, this short-term solution is in tandem with our long-term goal of boosting agricultural productivity. 

To support our farmers’ needs and improve local production and competitiveness, we are actively working with Congress to ensure that we have sufficient revenues to support the planned increase of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.

We are also continuously increasing our investments in the agriculture sector. In fact, this year’s budget for the sector grew by 27.7 percent to 221.7 billion pesos.

These will enable us to install more irrigation systems, construct farm-to-market roads, procure agri machinery and equipment, and prioritize research and development. 

All these will set the stage for a modernized agriculture sector, transforming it into a principal engine that drives national growth.

Meanwhile, our main job at the Department of Finance is to ensure ample resources to fund our nation's HEARTS: Health; Education; Agriculture; Roads and Infrastructure; Technology; and Security and Social Protection.

We will be stretching every peso to deliver a bigger bang per buck, especially in investing in our physical and intellectual infrastructure.

The largest chunk, or about 37 percent, of the 5.767 trillion peso-2024 national budget is allocated to education, health, and social protection programs.

Education remains our top priority with an allocation of 928.2 billion pesos.

We are also spending about 567.4 billion pesos in social protection programs like ayuda. These include the 4Ps; livelihood and emergency employment assistance; housing, education, and medical support; and assistance to individuals in crisis situations.

All these will ensure that Filipinos are not just healthy, but are thriving and among the brightest workforce in the world.

By recalibrating our growth and fiscal targets, we are taking proactive steps to ensure that they are attainable, realistic, adaptive to external challenges, and supportive of sustainable growth. To be continued

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