• Melo Acuna

Five priority measures needed to restart the economy

Secretary Dominguez presents five priority measures to restart the economy

MANILA – Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III recommended steps to enhance the Build, Build, Build program and improve food production along with its logistics chain as part of the five priority steps the government needs to accomplish to stimulate domestic consumption and enliven the country’s economy at the soonest possible time.

He said the government’s centerpiece massive infrastructure program remains “the besgt driver of economic growth,” and as such, should be restarted subject to compliance with minimum health standards, once the mobility restrictions have been lifted and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak is contained.

Secretary Dominguez said to enliven consumer spending, he said the government ought to promote the manufacture of products that have “strong and inelastic demand, notably by businesses in food production and logistics.

He added the government should also support the whole value chain of food production, including the establishment of food markets for efficient distribution, similar to the fruit and vegetable markets established decades ago in Japan where farmers directly sell their produce to consumers.

He suggested the mass hiring of contact tracers to boost the government’s efforts to stop the local transmission of COVID-19 and providing jobs. He also called for the urgent passage of the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA) which will now include “flexible tax and non-tax incentives” for the government to better target specific investors that it wants to invest in the economy.

At the briefing for President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday which was aired this morning. Secretary Dominguez said the government should take the lead in stimulating consumer demand to help businesses survive and keep the economy afloat. He added it will be useless to provide relief to businesses if demand remains weak and consumers lack the means to buy their goods and services.

Secretary Dominguez estimates some 1.2 to 1.5 million workers temporarily lost their jobs during the Enhanced Community Quarantine which began last March 16 and scheduled to lifted in most parts of the country by May 15. However, there are other regions which will maintain on lockdown until month’s end.

The Department of Health reported 264 new cases of COVID-19 positive individuals bringing the total to 11,350 with 107 new recoveries for a total of 2,106 and 25 new deaths for a total number of 751 fatalities.

At the Department of Foreign Affairs, Asst. Secretary Ed Menez said the number of Filipinos afflicted with COVID-19 reached 2,200 with 38 new confirmed cases, 25 new recoveries and a fatality as of this afternoon.

The total number of confirmed cases reached 2,233 with 1,303 undergoing treatment and 669 fully recovered and discharged from hospitals and 261 fatalities. The affected Filipinos come from 16 countries. (Melo M. Acuña)

Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (File Photo/Melo M. Acuna)

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