Dominguez sets advise for PH debt

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

FINANCE Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd has some suggestions on how the incoming administration could address the nation’s mounting debt.

“Through a well thought out, closely coordinated and efficiently executed economic program that protects the most vulnerable from worldwide inflationary pressures through targeted subsidies, fosters sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and maintains a healthy fiscal regime by increasing and eliminating wasteful expenditures,” he told reporters on Thursday night when asked how the next administration should deal with the government’s growing debt.

Data from the Bureau of the Treasury revealed that the national government’s outstanding debt reached a new high of P12.67 trillion as of the end of March this year, accounting for 63.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The debt-to-GDP ratio as of end-March 2022 is greater than the 60.5 percent recorded at the end of last year, and the highest since the 65.7 percent recorded in 2005. It also exceeds the international 50-percent threshold and the 60-percent cap set by the Duterte administration.

The government’s top priority, the Department of Finance has stressed, is to reduce the country’s debt.

It said the Philippines’ debt management is being closely monitored by the three major credit rating agencies, namely Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings.

“In the medium term, there is a need to bring down the debt-GDP ratio through fiscal consolidation [narrowing the deficit] so that the Philippine economy can resume its vibrant growth,” the Finance department added.

Dominguez also assured his department “will be ready in time to brief the incoming economic team” on fiscal consolidation.