Bilyonaryo Enrique “Ricky” Razon believes that a “widely vaccinated” population is not the only key to the Philippines path to recovery.
The ICTSI and Solaire casino boss said the government has to spend big to stimulate the economy just like the United States $1.9 trillion pandemic package and avoid staying stagnant up 2024 or 2025.
“The economic outlook is not good. The Philippines is like the US, we are a consumer-driven economy unlike the rest of Asean who are either in services or manufacturing. Consumers were locked down and lost their jobs, that’s why we have the highest economic contraction,” said Razon in a Rotary Club forum.
The Philippines, which has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies in the last decade, shrank 9.5 percent in 2020, its worst since 1947.
“We’re probably looking at three to four years down the road to get back to growth and it all depends on government stimulus. Government can erase the economic drop with a massive stimulus package which is what the US and China have done. Let’s see if they do it,” he added.
Razon, however, is not impressed with the amount of stimulus the government has budgeted to spark the economy. “From what I’ve seen of the (fiscal measures), it still falls very short in my opinion,” said Razon.
Last September, President Duterte signed a P165.5 billion ($3.4 billion) stimulus package to expand healthcare and help businesses recover from the deep recession. Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez has rejected calls for a stimulus package in 2021 (Bayanihan 3) because keeping the budget deficit under control was his main priority.