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Government innovation key to resilience, recovery

Innovation in government is needed to recover and build resilience from crises, according to acting Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Karl Kendrick Chua.

Noting risks to the country’s growth outlook, Chua said the task ahead requires innovative and creative solutions that can effectively balance health and other objectives.

“What this crisis has made apparent is the need for us to innovate governance and the importance of effective coordination if we hope not just to outlast but also build resilience against adversities such as this. Government must be the one to provide the direction and impetus for innovation to prosper. We must set the example by recalibrating our systems and processes to suit the needs and demands of the new normal,” Chua said during the virtual opening ceremony of the 6th Annual Public Policy Conference of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

Earlier, the Asian Development Bank forecast the economy to contract by 7.3 percent this year amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic before growth returns to 6.5 percent in 2021.

According to a new ADB report, The Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2020 Update projects a deeper decline in the economy than the regional development lender’s April forecast of 3.8-percent contraction, with subdued private consumption and investment expected for the rest of the year and uncertainties about the global economic recovery.

The economy is expected to rebound in 2021 as the outbreak is contained, the economy further opened, and more government stimulus measures are implemented.

The better economic prospects fort the country next year was affirmed by a ranking Pru Life UK official who forecast about six-percent to eight-percent expansion in 2021, a turn-around from the expected negative print this year because of the pandemic.

Charles Wong, Pru Life UK investments assistant vice president and head of equities, said: “Generally, if the economy grows by 6-8 percent, then the PSE (Philipine Stock Exchange) index would grow by about let’s say seven percent to nine percent or even a little bit more.”

Wong’s next year GDP forecast for the Philippines is generally in line with the government’s 6.5-percent to 7.5-percent growth target for 2021-2022.

Chua said innovating governance can be done through the use of new technologies in developing tools that can make the delivery of public services more effective and efficient.

“The task ahead requires innovative and creative solutions that can effectively balance both Covid and other objectives. That is why, the government’s response is a phased and adaptive recovery approach that prioritizes health as well as the recovery of consumer confidence towards opening up more of the economy,” he said.

The chief socio-economic planner also stressed the importance of effective coordination and dynamic multi-stakeholder partnerships to maximize all available resources to respond to the pandemic.

“Building strategic partnerships with different sectors is an effective way to address resource constraints and tap all available wealth of ideas, technologies, expertise, and networks. These are crucial for governance innovation to happen especially in the new normal,” he said.