October 30, 2021

NEDA estimates a P3.6 billion economic gain from lifting the NCR quarantine.

In comparison to the existing Alert Level 3, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) estimates that placing the National Capital Region (NCR) under the more relaxed Alert Level 2 can stimulate the economy by PHP3.6 billion and employment by 16,000 each week.

As the country shifts to an alert level based on developments of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua revealed Thursday results of NEDA and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) estimates measuring the weekly improvement in the country’s economic performance.

With further de-escalation to Alert Level 1, estimates predict that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will increase by PHP10.3 billion and 43,000 jobs will be created per week.

“There are very clear indicators why opening the economy will have a direct impact on GDP and people,” Chua said in a webinar hosted by the Philippine Economic Journalists Association.

Chua, who is also the director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), emphasized the need of reopening the economy securely, especially as occurrences of Covid-19 infections drop.

“That will have the effect of increasing sales turnover, hiring more people, providing more taxes to the government, and using those (taxes) virtuously to provide more targeted support to the sectors that really need it rather than closing the economy, not allowing 75% of the population to work, and then trying to find resources to feed these people, which you know cannot be multiplied,” he said.

According to Chua, the NEDA calculated that the overall cost of the Covid-19 epidemic and quarantines, in the long run, would be PHP41.4 trillion in net present value terms.

“Over the long term, our GDP will lose 4.3 trillion (pesos) in 2020. That means it will be approximately 37 trillion (pesos) in the next 10 to 40 years,” he said.

Chua noted the necessity to handle “risks better” when the country’s economy reopens.

“As the virus moves from pandemic to endemic form, an increasing number of persons are infected. And we believe that this is an excellent opportunity to further open the economy, accept the virus as a part of our existence, and treat it as the seasonal flu,” he continued.

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