Coronavirus crisis

NEDA urges government to prioritize support for production of essential goods

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz - CDN Digital | April 08,2020 - 10:54 AM

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Amid the country’s fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the government should prioritize support for the production of essential goods and personal protective equipment.

The NEDA, through an emailed press statement, said there is a need for “a regular review of rules or limitations imposed due to the health crisis.”

“It is crucial to avoid delimiting production and distribution capacity. This is to ensure that there is enough supply of food and other essentials since these are vital for the communities affected by COVID-19,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in the statement.

Identifying sources of supply of raw materials, and ensuring that the supply and distribution chain remain unhampered are key elements to ensure sustained production and distribution of essential goods and services, Pernia pointed out.

Impact on country’s manufacturing sector

In the coming months, manufactured goods that will likely increase production include food, beverages, chemical products, and health-related manufactures, according to NEDA.

On the other hand, Pernia noted that the ongoing pandemic would adversely impact the country’s manufacturing sector.

“We also expect that the global supply chain disruptions brought by the pandemic will have a negative effect on the manufacturing and merchandise exports,” he pointed out.

The impact of COVID-19 on other countries is also expected to be felt in the Philippines via tourism, aviation, trade, and Overseas Filipino Workers’ remittances.

“The economy should be able to quickly adapt to and thrive under the new normal. Utilizing digital platforms is crucial in optimizing production and distribution of goods and services. Business continuity plans must also be formulated, particularly for the most vulnerable micro, small and medium enterprises.” Pernia added.

‘New normal’

To help the various sectors adjust to the “new normal,” the Inter-agency Task Force Technical Working Group for Anticipatory and Forward Planning, chaired by NEDA, is discussing recommendations and possible interventions.

The IATF has conducted surveys for business owners, consumers, and agriculture and fisheries sector. A public consultation on the “new normal” has also been opened.

A report of the group will serve as blueprint for a whole-of-government-cum-private sector effort for the country’s recovery and rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported in its Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) that the total manufacturing index moderately improved in February 2020.

The Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries report.

The Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries report.

The Year-on-year Volume of Production Index expanded by 3.0 percent, an improvement from a 9.3-percent decline last year. On the other hand, the Value of Production Index declined by 1.8 percent, which is much better compared to the 6.2-percent drop recorded in February 2019

“For March, we expect that the Enhanced Community Quarantine has weighed heavily on the domestic demand on manufacturing products.  Strategies to help the manufacturing establishments affected by the outbreak have to be put in place,” Pernia pointed out.

The MISSI is a report that monitors the production, net sales, inventories, and capacity utilization of selected manufacturing establishments to provide flash indicators on the performance of the manufacturing sector. /bmjo

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