Sustaining economic triumphs for an even better 2024

PEDDLER OF HOPE - George Royeca - The Philippine Star

The economic prosperity of the Philippines in 2023 resembles a flourishing tree that has started to bear fruit. To ensure the continuity of this success into 2024, it is important to persist in fostering the fundamental policies and programs that have been instrumental in fostering this growth. Key among these are investment promotion, business-friendly reforms and fiscal responsibility.

Effectively maintaining and building upon these foundations will undoubtedly lead to substantial gains this year. Building on the accomplishments of the previous year is not just about economic growth; it is about extending tangible support to the Filipino people, alleviating poverty and unemployment and further establishing the country as a premier investment destination. The roots of success run deep, and by tending to them with diligence, the economic tree will continue to bear fruit, benefiting both the nation and its citizens.

Personally, I find the investment promotion and business-friendly reforms implemented by the current administration particularly noteworthy. Through well-crafted programs geared towards attracting both local and foreign direct investments (FDIs), the government has played a pivotal role in sustaining economic growth and positioning the country as a prime investment destination. This success materialized in the impressive 5.5 percent growth of the Philippine economy during the first three quarters of 2023, marking it as one of the highest performers in Asia.

The President’s active promotion of the country as a crucial business hub, evident in numerous international visits, was complemented by a strategic approach to diplomacy, strengthening economic ties and fostering cultural relations. These efforts collectively contributed to the positive economic trajectory.

Integral to this success story are the job creation and poverty alleviation programs, where collaboration between business groups and government agencies yielded remarkable results. Joint initiatives led to extensive job creation campaigns, resulting in a notable decline in the poverty rate to 22.4 percent in the initial half of 2023. The collaboration incentivized private entities through reduced bureaucratic hurdles and a business-friendly environment, encouraging companies to expand their operations and hire more workers. Emphasis was placed on targeted investments in key industries and workforce development programs to address specific skill gaps.

Equally impressive is the administration’s commitment to debt repayment. Within a mere 11 months, a substantial portion of the national debt, amounting to P1.5 trillion, has been successfully paid off. This accomplishment underscores the government’s adept budgeting, reduction of unnecessary expenses and optimization of revenue collection through tax reforms. It reflects a commitment to effective fiscal management and responsibility.

Furthermore, the administration’s successes extend to its forward-thinking approach reflected in the Philippine Development Plan, robust investment generation efforts and debt forgiveness initiatives for farmers. These developments underscore a clear focus on policy reforms and sustained economic development, adding to the numerous victories achieved under its tenure.

To further consolidate the gains achieved in 2023 and establish a resilient economic foundation for ongoing prosperity, there are actionable suggestions that could be considered. Decision-makers and business leaders should persist in exploring strategies to not only sustain but also amplify these victories for the greater benefit of the public. In a manner akin to safeguarding a tree from potential risks, the government must remain vigilant against global economic uncertainties and proactively address them to uphold a stable business environment.

Moreover, a continuous commitment to invest in critical areas such as infrastructure, education, health care and other promising sectors, coupled with regular policy reviews and adjustments, is indispensable for ensuring sustained economic growth. This approach is comparable to the regular tending and watering required to nurture a thriving tree.

Recognizing that poverty in the Philippines often stems from low education levels among household heads and large family sizes, there is a pressing need for increased public expenditures in education and health care. Enhancing human capital and reducing inequality can be achieved by improving access to quality education, investing in health care facilities and promoting health awareness. The active formulation of policies providing better social assistance and unemployment insurance is crucial to shielding vulnerable populations from economic shocks and poverty. At the same time, there should be a dedicated focus on policies that foster inclusive growth and diminish inequality.

As the country undergoes digital transformation, sustained investment in infrastructure development and enhanced digital connectivity is important to facilitate seamless trade, commerce and innovation. This, in turn, can attract more investments and create additional job opportunities for the population. Furthermore, there must be increased support for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to bolster their growth in the evolving digital landscape. This comprehensive approach ensures that the nation not only keeps pace with technological advancements but also maximizes the potential benefits for all segments of society.

Nurturing the roots of economic stability, guarding against potential risks and cultivating interconnected growth are essential steps for the government to ensure the enduring strength of the economic “tree” and will continue to bear fruit in the years ahead. By deliberately perpetuating these initiatives, the economic landscape in 2024 has the potential not just to sustain but to magnify the accomplishments of the preceding year. This strategic approach aims to cultivate a resilient and thriving economy that serves as a source of prosperity for both its citizens and the broader global business community. The government’s commitment to these foundational principles is predominant in fostering enduring economic success and maintaining a positive trajectory for the nation’s financial well-being.

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