Bilyonaryo - Business

Diokno to retain Treasurer de Leon, most DOF undersecretaries as he vows to elevate PH to upper-middle income status

There will be no major changes in the line-up of undersecretaries for the next administration, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor and incoming finance chief Benjamin Diokno said on Thursday.
“I intend to retain most of the Undersecretaries and also (National) Treasurer Lea (De Leon),” he said in a virtual briefing.
RELATED STORY: Benjamin Diokno next Finance Secretary, Felipe Medalla new BSP Gov: Bongbong Marcos recycles ageing Estrada Cabinet members as core of his economic team
Diokno considers the financial chief position as equally challenging as heading the central bank “because we’re shooting for the same (goal) for the country, which is to make the country an upper-middle income economy soon.”
“I think we’re almost there but because of the pandemic that goal was disrupted. So, we’ll focus on that,” he said.
Economic managers earlier aimed to elevate the domestic economy to the upper-middle income status by this year given its sustained expansion.
The pandemic delayed this goal but authorities said this remains feasible since the economy has started to recover from the virus-induced crisis.
Under Diokno’s watch, the DOF also aims to bring down the level of poverty in the country.
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data show that as of the first semester of 2021, poverty incidence in the country or the share of poor Filipinos whose per capita income is not enough to meet their basic food and non-food needs, is placed at 23.7 percent of the population or about 26.14 million Filipinos.
Meanwhile, in terms of the accelerating rate of price increases, Diokno said there should be a coordinated action between the fiscal and monetary authorities but because the current acceleration of inflation rate is caused by supply-side factors, he said this should be handled primarily by the fiscal side.
Diokno has repeatedly said that acceleration of domestic inflation rate, which surpassed the government’s 2-4 percent annual target band until 2024 last April when it rose to 4.9 percent, should be addressed by focused measures such as the fuel subsidies for drivers and operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) and farmers and fisherfolk. (PNA)