February 6, 2023

Ensuring fiscal provisions for the most affected sectors and the health care system is the primary way for countries to recover from the impact of the pandemic, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) official said.

In a recent virtual briefing, IMF Regional Office for Asia Director Chikahisa Sumi said “there is no silver bullet” for countries that are lagging in terms of virus containment.

Sumi said fiscal support to safeguard the health care system is one of the most important measures.

“There’s no panacea. Basically, you need to contain the virus’ spread by taking the measures that have been really good. Especially for the government, make sure that your health care system is still capable of handling it, so the (need for) funding support,” he said.

Aside from focusing on the health care system, Sumi also underscored the need to focus on saving livelihoods, particularly helping the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“You may want to err on the side of caution” by scrutinizing the viability of small businesses, he said.

“There is like a trade-off between the economy and saving lives. To me, that doesn’t make any difference. It’s not a trade-off. The economic recovery cannot stop, cannot take root unless the health condition is under control,” Sumi added.

The IMF forecast the Philippine economy to contract by 8.3 percent this year but recovery is seen to boost domestic growth by about 7.4 percent next year. PNA release