BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said that he’s confident that the Philippines could achieve its growth target in 2022.
BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS — On Thursday, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said that he’s confident the Philippines could still achieve its growth target of 7% to 9% in 2022 despite the recent surge in coronavirus cases.
In an event organized by the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), the BSP chief said that the Omicron variant appeared to be “mild and less lethal” and the outbreak occurred early in 2022.
The National Capital Region (NCR) and other neighboring provinces were under Alert Level 3 because of the rising COVID-19 cases.
Also, Diokno assured top business executives that the Philippines’ banking system remained sound and capable of withstanding the prevailing challenges brought about by the pandemic as well as shifting international monetary policies and inflation.
According to Diokno, the Philippines has adequate cash buffers for external shocks, slowing inflation, manageable bad debt levels, and rising bank lending.
BSP data showed that the total gross international reserves (GIR) level, for example, rose to USD 108.8 billion as of the end of December, equivalent to 10.3 months worth of import of Services and goods and 8.8 times the country’s short term external debt.
MAP President Alfredo Pascual said that the current surge “threatens to set back” the country’s recovery. According to him, any increase in mobility restrictions in the country “can cause undue hardship once more” for the business sector and workers who could lose their jobs.
Pascual also said that coronavirus infection concerns of customers and workers alike have affected businesses adversely, and many firms have closed down and gone bankrupt. He added that the expected unemployment range for 2022 was between 7% to 9% or 3 times the pre-pandemic level of 2.2% in 2019.
The Philippines reported 37,207 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 3,129,512.