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Increased consumer demand needed to boost economy

THE National Economic and Development Authority in Central Visayas (NEDA7) said that the way to boost economic revival is increased consumer demand.

In their report to the Regional Development Council in Central Visayas (RDC-7), NEDA-7 said that the region saw an improvement on the economy in the last quarter of 2020.

Maria Teresa Alambra of NEDA-7, said that fourth quarter was marked with economic recovery as businesses reopened, but the present demand was still “weighing heavily” on many sectors constraining increased growth.

The inflation rate has gone down from 1.3 percent in the second quarter to 0.9 percent in the last quarter of 2020, with a yearly average of 1.9 percent. The inflation rate in the last quarter was lowest in the entire year.

The inflation average of 2020 is 0.3 percent higher than in 2019, which was at 1.6 percent inflation average.

Alambra noted that for crop and fisheries production, palay, corn, fruits and fisheries slightly increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Industrial and commercial products increased by 25.1 thousand metric tons (MT) in 2020 than in 2019, while vegetable production decreased by 0.9 thousand MT in 2020.

Among livestock production, hogs remain the highest producing industry with 192.8 thousand MT of hog produced in 2020 and goat production increased by 0.04 thousand MT in 2020.

Poultry production in 2020 dropped in the second and third quarter but regained momentum in the fourth quarter. Eggs increased production in 2020 garnering a total of 55.50 thousand MT as compared to the in 2019’s 54.2 thousand MT production.

Despite the pandemic, a total of P19.964 million of investments was poured in the region mostly from Filipino investors and less from foreigners.

NEDA-7 said the challenge remained on how to counter the unemployment rate that has reached 10.4 percent in 2020 or double of that in 2019. This is the reason the agency believed that if the consumer demand would go up, the businesses would flourish again and in turn unemployment rate would decrease.

“We expect more recoveries from sectors as economic activities intensify. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP’s) employment outlook index for Q1 2021 and the next 12 months affirmed the view of a possible increase in the number of employees in the said period,” said Alambra.