Gov’t to continue measures to protect purchasing power as inflation eases further in April – NEDA

As the country’s inflation rate eased further in April 2023, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) continues to push for timely and proactive measures to protect the purchasing power of Filipinos as this remains the government’s top priority.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported today that the country’s headline inflation further eased to 6.6 percent in April 2023 from 7.6 percent in March 2023.

Food inflation declined to 8.0 percent in April 2023 from 9.5 percent in the previous month amid slower inflation of vegetables, fish, eggs and other dairy products, meat, and sugar.

Non-food inflation also decelerated to 5.5 percent in April 2023 from 6.3 percent in March, mainly due to slower electricity inflation and a further deflation in private transport as prices of diesel, gasoline, and LPG continued to decline.

“With these developments, NEDA is optimistic that the downward trend will continue and settle further within the government’s outlook,” said NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

Last month, the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) revised its 2023 inflation outlook to 5.0 to 7.0 percent from the previous assumption of 2.5 to 4.5 percent, in view of persisting high prices of food, energy, and transport costs. The average inflation rate for the first four months of the year settled at 7.9 percent.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages remain the top contributor to inflation, at three (3.0) percentage points (ppt), followed by housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (1.4 ppt), and restaurants and accommodation services (0.8 ppt).

NEDA recognizes the risks to the inflation outlook to remain tilted toward the upside amid potential transport fare increases, wage adjustments, and domestic food supply pressures amidst the threat of El Niño and the resurgence of African Swine Flu.

Balisacan also shared that the Inter-Agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook (IAC-IMO) continues its monitoring on the ground and facilitates regular and systematic data-sharing to provide timely recommendations to the President and relevant agencies on measures to mitigate inflation and ensure sufficient food and energy supply.

“It is important to design policies and interventions to help those that will be affected by El Niño, through the provision of seeds or seedlings of non-water- loving crops or crop varieties. Additionally, the government must remain proactive in curbing animal disease outbreaks through stronger border protection and monitoring,” he added.

Meanwhile, IAC-IMO recommended timely and data-supported importations to fill in supply gaps, strategic prepositioning of rice buffer stocks in time for the El Niño, improvement and expansion of the Kadiwa program, and fast-tracking the distribution of targeted subsidies to fishers and farmers in the short term.

For the medium term, the committee recommended enhancing the productivity and resiliency of the agriculture and fisheries sector, promoting investments in facilities, transport, and logistics systems, expanding water infrastructure, and pushing for the passage of critical reforms such as the Livestock, Poultry and Dairy Competitiveness and Development Act, which are priorities contained in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.