Biz group welcomes ‘active’ government move

The Makati Business Club (MBC) on Wednesday welcomed the government’s decision to set up an interministerial committee to tackle stubborn inflation.

“We applaud this proactive government move to fight inflation,” said MBC chief executive Francisco Alcuaz Jr. says in the statement.

“Inflation – part global, part local – is the biggest headwind threatening our recovery, job creation and the cost of living,” he added.

“This will strengthen the government’s confidence that it will organize its big guns to fight it. We believe that they will solve not only the usual problems with supply and logistics, but also immoral and illegal profiteering.”

Malacañang announced on Tuesday that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Approved the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Administration (NEDA) and the Department of Finance (DoF) to establish an Interagency Committee on Inflation and Market Forecasts.

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This group is expected to act as an advisory body to the president and cabinet on measures to mitigate inflation and ensure food and energy security while balancing the interests of local food producers, consumers and the economy as a whole.

It will be co-chaired by representatives of NEDA and the Ministry of Finance, and a member of the Department of Budget and Management will be the Vice-Chair. It will include representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government.

The Philippine Bureau of Statistics, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Philippine Competition Commission will act as resource agencies.

The creation of the committee follows the announcement that inflation will fall to 8.6% in February from the previous month’s 14-year high of 8.7%. Despite the decline, consumer price growth remained well above the target level of 2.0 to 4.0%.

Core inflation, excluding volatile food and energy, rose to 7.8% from 7.4% a month earlier.

The result prompted NEDA chief Arsenio Balisacan to call for a “rethink” on government strategies, especially those aimed at lowering food prices.

“Agricultural imports were delayed and food supplies were insufficient. The solution is to get to the root of the problem, including debottlenecking all segments of the agricultural value chain,” he said on Tuesday.

The BSP, which raised key interest rates by 4 percentage points from last year to fight inflation, also called for “timely and effective implementation of non-monetary government measures to mitigate the impact of persistent supply pressure on inflation.”