Freeman Cebu Business

Challenge lies in keeping Central Visayas growth momentum

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Central Visayas, the country’s fourth largest regional economy, still has so much room to increase its contribution to national economic output.

As the region’s economy continues to expand, the challenge is to sustain the growth momentum moving forward, according to Efren Carreon, regional head at the National Economic and Development Authority.

He said: “Our challenge now is how to sustain the region’s economic growth momentum.”

Last year, Central Visayas contributed 6.5% to the country’s total economic output, growing by 7.6%.

Region 7’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth was valued at P593.8 billion in 2018, the country’s fourth biggest, next to Central Luzon (P904 billion), Calabarzon (P1.5 trillion) and National Capital Region (P3.3 trillion).

More than the economic growth, Carreon pointed out the bigger challenge now for the region is to make that growth inclusive.

“A bigger challenge is to ensure that growth is inclusive and to bring this to the rural areas,” he said.

While achieving inclusive growth remains very farfetched, he noted there are indications the economy is going to that direction.

He cited the decline in poverty incidence.

In the first half of 2018, poverty incidence among families in Central Visayas was 19%, down from 28.5% in 2015.

“Interestingly, this is our poverty incidence target for 2020 per our Regional Development Plan 2017-2020,” Carreon said.

He added real per capita GRDP also increased by 6% to P76,024 in 2018 from P71,743 in 2017.

“The overall outlook for the region in 2019 remains positive,” he said.

The NEDA official said tourism and BPO sectors are expected to continue leading the region’s growth drivers, with the construction sector also projected to see strong performance this year.

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