THE country’s GDP growth in the fourth quarter could be slower at 6.9 percent, due to external risks and the anemic economic growth of the country’s major trading partners, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia recently told reporters that the slowdown in the growth of the US and China will affect Philippine GDP in the October-to-December period.

“[Growth] maybe at 6.9 percent because the first three quarters is [7 percent]. [This] will be based on the same drivers [such as strong consumption],” said Pernia, who is also the director general of the Neda.

Earlier, Pernia said the country would see a significant uptick in consumption spending in the fourth quarter, particularly during the holidays. This will be fueled mainly by overseas Filipino worker remittances to their families.

Remittances account for 10 percent of the country’s GDP. The Philippines’s GDP remains consumption-driven with 70 percent being accounted for by private and public spending.

In the third quarter, household consumption accounted for five percentage points of the 7.1-percent GDP growth.

“Drivers are public spending, exports are picking up, consumption is still strong, especially the coming holidays. On the supply side, agriculture is expected to improve because of the rains, manufacturing is also picking up,” Pernia earlier said.

Pernia also said the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) will meet on January 11 to discuss various bills that the Duterte administration wants to prioritize.

“We are going to look at priority bills. There’s a long list of priority bills. There’s a lot,” he added.

The Ledac provides policy advice to the President and integrates the legislative agenda of the administration with the national development plan, among other functions. The Neda is the principal secretariat of the Ledac.

The Neda organizes the council meetings by determining the agenda, as well as inviting the participants to the meeting.

The secretariat is responsible for preparing the agenda folder and the discussion flow for the President and for distributing materials during the meeting.

18 December 2016