Link finance, monetary policy to rural development: Philippines official

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Chennai, June 28 (IANS) Finance and monetary policy should be linked to rural development, said a visiting Filipino official on Thursday.

Carlos Garcia Dominguez, Secretary, Department of Finance, Philippines also said that his country’ economic growth should shift from a consumption-led model to that of an investments-led one.

Delivering a special lecture at the M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) here, he said the finance and monetary policies of a nation should be linked to rural development, noting that for the first time in the Philippines, an agricultural expert will now be part of the Monetary Board, so that policy can be formulated with inputs keeping in mind the rural economy as well.

According to Dominguez, investments should focus on big infrastructure projects such as irrigation projects, railways, roads, airports and others that have a high impact on job creation and poverty reduction which in turn would reduce hunger.

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He said that the Philippines’ aim is for investments to increase from the current level of 6.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) to 7.3 per cent by 2020 so that the government’s target of reducing poverty levels from the current 20 per cent to 14 per cent by 2022 can be achieved.

Dominguez also reiterated the need for a progressive tax reform programme which could prevent polarisation of wealth and thus bring about a reduction in crime rates.

He also recalled the important role played by MSSRF founder Swaminathan in helping increase rice production in the Philippines when he was Director General of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in 1986.

The country had at the time been suffering a bad drought. Swaminathan was, in fact, the inspiration for setting up the Philippine Rice Research Institute, Dominguez remarked.

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In his closing remarks, Swaminathan said it was important to marry nutrition, health and agriculture in order to overcome the enigma of both poverty and hunger.

–IANS

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