EDITORIAL: 2023 a Year of Challenge
2023 is a brand new year. The usual time to make resolutions about what to stop, continue, correct past undesirable acts, or wish for new things to happen or to receive, but all of this is anchored on our national and personal economic contributions.
The world and the domestic economy, however, does not promise a brighter year. Even with the waning disastrous effect of the pandemic, the signs are not clear for a back to the normal world. In the US, which is the Philippines’ barometer for whatever is going to happen, the new year does not guarantee a better economy. According to bank economists, there is a 35 percent chance of a U.S. downturn in 2023.
In Manila, the reports are not comforting either. The Philippine economy is expected to lose momentum in 2023 with the government setting a slow growth from 6.5 to 5.7 percent. The soaring inflation will slow down consumer spending that result affects government and private fiscal positions. This will happen even as the government lifted nearly all COVID-19 restrictions and allowed more business activities to resume.
Our hope for a better post-pandemic life is hinged on the bold and revolutionary policies of the PBBM administration which could be buoyed by a speculative end of the Ukraine war which resulted in the global recession and disruption of the international supply chain.
The challenge for government economists is how to live within a world of economic partners who are also grappling with the same problem as ours, and controlling their own import demands in favor of stationary economics. The trend will be looking inward for self-sufficiency rather than solving the problems of other countries.
The World Economic Forum has predicted that COVID will bring about a rural economic revolution. Hence, our economic planners must start reviewing their development paradigms and consider focusing on area-based planning, and sector-specific focus strategies. Here is hoping that our policymakers will not be ashamed to talk about community development and the importance of our basic economic sectors as engines of economic recovery. The old theory is more valid today than ever:
1. No country can be economically developed without strong communities.
2. No community can be strong without entrepreneurial people
3. No people can be entrepreneurial without appropriate education and training.
4. No rural enterprise can be organized and sustainable without access to capital
5. No enterprise, whatever type and level can prosper without a link to the national or local economy.