Monsod: Don't blame slow economy on Yolanda

Posted at 06/01/2014 6:23 PM

MANILA -- The government should not blame super typhoon Yolanda for the slow growth in the economy during the first quarter of the year.

In an interview with radio dzRB, economist Solita Monsod said the government’s excuse “does not hold water,” noting that Yolanda wreaked havoc last year and not during the first quarter of 2014.

“This national income growth is for the whole country, [Yolanda] happened in Eastern Visayas,” she pointed out.

“Did investments really come in? The government is such a braggart. The government talks too much,” she continued. “Were expenditures really there? The private sector is even confident of the Philippine economy.”

The Philippine economy grew by only 5.7 percent in the first quarter, with the government saying it continued to feel the lingering effects of super typhoon Yolanda. This was much lower than the 6.4 percent median estimate of 20 Reuters analysts.

"The relatively slow growth is expected, given the magnitude of the destruction in production capacity. In agriculture, permanent crops, notably coconuts, were felled. Damage to agricultural output also disrupted supply chains, which may partly explain why food manufacturing output also declined. The tourism and insurance industries likewise slowed down in the first quarter as they are still reeling from the impact of natural calamities last year," National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Arsenio Balisacan said.

Monsod could not even pinpoint what could have caused the tapering of the economic growth, saying the government usually has detailed explanations as to which sectors contributed to or affected the economy.

“But this one, I did not see,” she said, as she urged the government to fast-track the public-private partnership (PPP) programs to bolster economic growth.