NEDA to push for measures to curb inflation
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said measures to curb inflation and cushion its impact on the poor are urgently needed.
This, after the inflation rate for February reached the upper band of the government’s target.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that February 2018 inflation was at 3.9 percent, percent with faster increases in the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages (4.8 percent), transport (5.8 percent), alcoholic beverages and tobacco (16.9 percent), furnishing, household equipment, and routine maintenance of the house (2.5 percent), restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (2.5 percent), and clothing and footwear (2.0 percent).
While still within the 2.0 percent to 4.0 percent target of the government, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said the government should remain vigilant and prepared to implement measures that will mitigate the upside risks to inflation.
“The transitory impact of the TRAIN Law and the continued depreciation of the Philippine peso will mainly influence price movements in the coming months, and we must ensure that mitigating measures should be in place”, Pernia said.
Pernia said government must pay closer attention to the poor. He said there is a need to expand the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and to fast-track the distribution of unconditional cash transfer (UCT) from the TRAIN.
He also reiterated the call to replace the quantitative restrictions on rice with tariffs. This is expected to lower the price of rice and raise revenues for agricultural programs such as crop diversification and investment in disaster risk resiliency.