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Mobility vital in Q4 to sustain economic growth – Concepcion

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Mobility vital in Q4 to sustain economic growth â Concepcion
A long queue of commuters wait for rides along Ortigas Extension in Cainta and Taytay, Rizal on Wednesday morning, Sept. 14, 2022.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — If the country is to sustain its drive toward economic recovery, people’s mobility in the fourth quarter of the year must be maintained, Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said over the weekend.

“We need people going out,” Concepcion said in a statement, emphasizing that the approaching holiday season is when consumer spending is expected to peak and sales are crucial for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“If people don’t spend, this will affect our economy. How will we attain the growth target that is needed to maintain our credit rating?” he added.

Still, Concepcion acknowledged that there remain external factors threatening to weaken consumer spending, which are beyond the government’s control.

“We cannot control the rising prices and rising interest rates. External factors like the conflict in Russia and Ukraine are now affecting all of us,” he pointed out.

The former presidential adviser on entrepreneurship recalled that last year, the private sector cooperated in a strategic lockdown that prevented the spread of COVID-19 and ensured mobility during the holiday season.

Unlike then, when increased vaccination rates helped open up the economy, there is however nothing that the country can do about the United States’ attempt to tame inflation in their country by raising interest rates, or if and when the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will end.

“It’s a different situation. We are facing strong headwinds, but there are things that can help us sail through and come out with a strong economy by the first quarter,” Concepcion said.

“Hopefully OFW (overseas Filipino workers) remittances will continue to buoy the economy, seeing that already the strong dollar is adding ten percent to the value of dollar remittances,” he said.

Concepcion acknowledged that MSMEs are still bound to feel the impact of rising prices in goods and commodities.

“What we can control is our own willingness to keep businesses active,” he said. “There are actions that can be taken to mitigate the effects of rising prices so that the economy remains active throughout the holiday season.”
He also appealed for continued vigilance against the virus, especially now that students have returned to in-person classes and outdoor masking rules have been relaxed.

“Although the pandemic is now pretty much under control, we must continue to be vigilant,” Concepcion said.
 

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