NEDA: 7-8% Economic Growth Target in Next 5 Years Achievable

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MANILA, Philippines (PNA) - The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has said it is optimistic that the 7-8 percent economic growth target in the next five years is achievable."The 7 percent to 8 percent GDP growth is still our target in the next five years. We hope the increase in investment will continue. We saw an underspending midway to the second quarter but we will increase our infrastructure spending," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga said.The NEDA chief said he expects the second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) to exceed the 4.9 percent growth in the first quarter of the year.Paderanga, however, said that GDP is likely to be "slower" than the 8.4 percent growth in the second quarter last year.In the first quarter, the country's GDP grew by 4.9 percent amidst the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and North Africa, the rising oil prices, and the contraction in public spending.Compared with the performance of its Asian neighbors, Paderanga said the country's GDP growth in the first quarter is higher than that of Thailand's 3 percent, Republic of Korea's 4.2 percent and Malaysia's 4.6 percent.He also said that the Development Budget and Coordinating Committee (DBCC) will review the 7 percent to 8 percent economic target this year after the second quarter numbers are out."Growth would be higher in 2012," said Paderanga.Earlier, Paderanga projected a stronger growth in the coming quarters in spite of the risks and uncertainties surrounding the country because of the timely and effective implementation of appropriate policies and reforms that are being undertaken.These include measures such as addressing corruption and making the bureaucracy more efficient by streamlining processes to lower the cost of doing business for the private sector as well as expediting the release and utilization of budget for a more efficient and timely implementation of programs and projects, Paderanga said. …