TACLOBAN CITY – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 8 (Eastern Visayas) is evaluating the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak on the economy to come up with revised growth targets for the region.
NEDA-8 Director Meylene Rosales said in a phone interview on Wednesday that they need an evidence-based assessment to guide them in making new estimates of the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) in the next few years.
Earlier, the region projected an annual 5.8-percent to 5.9-percent GRDP growth under the 2017 to 2022 Regional Development Plan. The GRDP measures the value of goods and services produced by a region.
“We need to gather substantial information to re-estimate economic growth. We just launched an online survey to get the experiences of consumers and businesses. Through this survey, we hope to know the kind of intervention needed to keep the economy afloat,” Rosales said.
With the low survey participation last week, NEDA is reaching out to more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through various platforms online.
According to initial reports, the pandemic has suspended the operation of more than 20,000 registered MSMEs in the six provinces of Eastern Visayas.
“We will also come up with an inventory to determine specific businesses that can operate in the next months without increasing the risk of infection,” she added.
The region’s economic cluster task force has already submitted an initial report on the economic impact, to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Covid-19.
Experts from the NEDA main office are expected to assist the region in coming up with a new economic growth forecast.
The region, composed of the provinces of Leyte, Samar, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar, posted a 5.9-percent growth in 2018 largely due to the accelerated performance of the services sector. (IA/PNA)