After a stronger-than-expected third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Friday expressed optimism that the economy would hit the government’s target growth band for the entire year.

“Malakas po ang aming kumpyansa na we will really be attaining ‘yung [target],” NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said during state-run PTV’s public briefing.

(We are strongly confident that we will really be attaining this target.)

The Marcos administration set a target band of 6.5% to 7.5% GDP growth for 2022.

As of the third quarter of 2022, the country’s GDP —the total value of goods and services produced in a specific period— grew by 7.6%, faster than the upwardly adjusted 7.5% GDP growth seen in the second quarter of the year.

Edillon echoed Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan’s remark that the economy only needs to grow by 3.3% in the fourth quarter to meet the lower end of the target band.

To hit the upper end of the goal, the economy needs to grow by 6.9% in the October to December period.

The NEDA official said the government is aware of the headwinds that need to be addressed to achieve the growth target such as the high inflation environment.

“Going forward ‘yun po ang unang masolusyonan natin. Kailangan mapababa natin itong mga inflation, especially ang presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin lalo na ang pagkain,” Edillon said.

(Going forward, that is what we need to address. We need to bring down inflation, especially the prices of prime commodities, particularly food.)

Inflation has been trending above 6% in the past quarter — 6.4% in July, 6.3% in August, and 6.9% in September — driven by rising food, utilities, and transport costs amid local and external pressures on commodity prices.

In October, inflation, or the rate of increase in the prices of consumer goods and services, accelerated to a 14-year high of 7.7% from 6.9% in September as food prices remain elevated due to supply challenges brought by external pressures such as the Russia-Ukraine war and the onslaught of Typhoon Karding.

The NEDA official said the government is preparing medium-term solutions to inflation.

In the meantime, Edillon said short-term and immediate solutions included providing cash transfers, fuel discounts, and other forms of targeted assistance. — DVM, GMA Integrated News