The province of Bohol’s progress continues as Central Visayas shows potentials of sustaining growth despite the revision of targets.
Central Visayas, of which Bohol is a part of it, maintains as 4th spot in the ranking of regional economic growth nationwide.
The expected completion of the Bohol Panglao International Airport in June next year will bring more economic activities in the province which has never been seen before here. Investors, especially from China and other Asian countries, are expected to be rushing to put in their investments here.
“Although it failed to hit the revised target, the performance of the Central Visayas economy could still be considered remarkable,” according to National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-7 Regional Director Efren Carreon.
This is contained in the “highlights of the 2016 Gross Regional Domestic Product and the performance of selected economic indicators for the first quarter of 2017” which Carreon presented in the earlier full council meeting of the Regional Development Council.
“Central Visayas was the fourth fastest growing regional economy in 2016. Its economic growth, at 8.8 percent, was surpassed only by the economic growths of Eastern Visayas, Central Luzon, and Davao Regions,” according to Carreon.
He noted that Central Visayas might have impressive growth performance since 2011, but “it fell short of achieving the revised plan target of 7.9 percent average annual growth for the period 2011-2016”.
Carreon that the shortfall in the last three years of the plan period can be noted: “after the target was revised”.
“An upward adjustment in the target was made in the second half of the plan period since the economy was realizing higher growths in the first three years of plan implementation,” according to Carreon.
Even having failed to hit the revised target, the economy in Central Visayas can “still be considered remarkable”, he added.
Central Visayas excelled in the last plan period from 2011 to 2016 with an average growth rate of 7.5 percent for the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP), “the highest in the country”.
“Central Visayas was able to beat the other regions in terms of economic growth,” Carreon said.
On the regional economy in the start of 2017, NEDA-7 noted that a slow down of passenger traffic in the shipping industry as shown by indicators for the transportation sector.
Carreon described it as a corrective adjustment, “because the growth in 2016 was abnormally high due to Cebu’s hosting of some major events- -including the 51st International Eucharistic Congress”.
“There was also robust growth in international passenger traffic in the aviation industry. This could mean further expansion of foreign tourism market, although this has yet to be confirmed as soon as data from the Department of Tourism become available,” Carreon reported.
Moreover, the statistics show an increase of 0.48 percent in the total power consumption in the first quarter of 2017.
The value of merchandise exports from Central Visayas also posted a 24.3-percent in the first quarter of 2017 which indicates a rebound in the region’s export industry “after two years of negative growth in export earnings” as the preliminary exports data shows.
“Although this is a welcome development, a conservative outlook has to be maintained for the export industry because of the volatility of the economies of our major trading partners such as the US, Japan, China and the European Union,” according to Carreon.
The NEDA-7 record also shows that at least “5.4 percentage points of the 8.8 percent growth of the economy” came from the industry sector which then is considered as the primary growth leader, “particularly construction and manufacturing”.
“In contrast, agriculture clipped the growth by 0.04 percentage points. The service sector contributed 3.38 percentage points to the growth of the regional economy. Among the growth drivers within the service sector were real estate, renting and business activities where the IT-BPM industry belongs, the trade sector, and other services, including tourism services,” according to Carreon.
NEDA-7 also noted the continuous growth of the retail industry of Central Visayas for several years now.
NEDA-7 calculates that this trend may continue in 2017 “with the entry of new industry players”, citing Landers Superstore as “one of the most recent additions to Cebu’s retail trade industry”.
“Additional family income due to the higher salary, stronger business activities, and strong foreign remittances boost domestic consumption that led to high demand for retail goods and services,” Carreon added.
The first quarter of 2017 also shows acceleration of price movements where “Siquijor posted the highest inflation rate at 6.1 percent; followed by Bohol at 3.8 percent; Negros Oriental at 3.7 percent; and Cebu at 3.2 percent”.
“The inflation rates of the four provinces are higher than the national average, but generally within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) range of 2.0 to 4.0 percent,” the NEDA-7 statistics show.
The record also shows that inflation rates of Siquijor, Bohol and Negros Oriental exhibited an increasing trend, while Cebu’s exhibited a decreasing trend.
Among the commodity items that Carreon said posted the highest inflation rates are the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels group at 5.0 percent.
This was attributed to the increase in pump prices of gasoline and other fuels.
“From as low as P34.35 in January 2016, pump prices of gasoline went up to as high as Php 42.55 in March 2017,” the record shows.
Prices of food items also increased which was expected, “because of the poor performance of the agriculture sector”.
“Inflation rate for food and non-alcoholic beverages was 3.9 percent. Other commodity groups that posted higher inflation rates were alcoholic beverages and tobacco, transport, education, and health,” according to Carreon.
On the other hand, “the employment situation in the region continued to improve”.
NEDA-7 record shows that “from 93.4 percent in 2014, the employment rate has been steadily increasing to reach 95.4 percent in January 2017; while underemployment also eased from 20.9 percent in 2014 to 16.1 percent in 2017”.