The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in Central Visayas is optimistic the region’s economy will recover gradually amid the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEDA-7 Regional Director Efren Carreon said that Central Visayas’ economic recovery must be anchored on the infrastructure buildup under the Duterte administration to make the region more attractive to investors post-crisis era.
“Our positive outlook continues to be there,” Carreon said during the Mugstoria Ta aired on the Facebook page of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV).
“We will rebound with our infrastructure projects in place and the plan for mass transport system, which should enhance our attractiveness to foreign companies.”
“Our Build Build Build program should pump prime our economy,” the NEDA official further said.
Being centrally located in the country, the region is in a great position to attract more investments from abroad, especially those leaving China post-pandemic, Carreon said.
“We have a modern airport. Metro Cebu Expressway is on the pipeline. Our new container port is about to commence later this year. Other airports and seaports in the region have also been upgraded,” he said.
Domestic tourism will also likely start to recover by the end of this year or early 2022, Carreon pointed out.
Tourism has been one of the most gravely affected industries in the region by the current crisis.
Carreon estimated the tourism sector incurred losses of about P12.5 billion in the first quarter of 2020 alone due to travel restrictions and mass quarantine measures.
Accommodation facilities, including hotels and resorts, recorded the biggest foregone revenue at P5.5 billion, followed by restaurants at P4.7 billion, retail at P1.9 billion and transport at P876 million.
While the services sector has took a backseat during the economic downturn, Carreon projected that it will continue to dominate the regional economy.
However, he sees “more focus” on the agriculture sector, which has proven to be very essential during this crisis as more people rely on farm products to survive.
“That’s the opportunity there. Our agri fishery sector currently contributes about 5 percent to our economy. But there’s so much potential. We need to invest more into the sector to increase production,” he said.
While the Central Visayas economy is poised to start its recovery path in the second half of the year, Carreon said growth might not be as robust as it was in 2019./PR