MANILA: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) sees the Philippine economy as a “standout” in Asia, although tax reform and infrastructure buildup will be needed to sustain growth. In a statement issued Friday, the DOF quoted Luis E. Breuer, head of the IMF’s recent 2017 Article IV Mission to the Philippines, as telling Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and other economic managers that they were “very optimistic” because “the Philippine economy is quite impressive—it is one of the most dynamic economies in the world.”
The DOF further quoted Breuer as saying that “Asia is the engine of growth of the world economy, where the Philippines stands out.” But early this month, the IMF cut its 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for the Philippines to 6.6 percent from 6.8 percent previously on the back of a slower-than-expected expansion in the first quarter. The government targets a GDP growth of 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year. The DOF said Breuer commended the “clear vision of the Duterte administration’s economic team,” specifically the push for a comprehensive tax reform program, “which the IMF sees as a vital component to sustain the country’s growth momentum.” “We would like to support the initiatives you have in your tax reform,” Breuer said.