R-12 economy up 8.1% in 2012

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/29 July) — Region 12’s economy grew by 8.1 percent last year as majority of the area’s industries and economic sectors continued to post accelerated growths.

Herlita Caraan, National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Region 12 director, said the region’s economic performance improved by 2.8 percentage points last year or from a growth rate of 5.3 percent due to the noted expansions by major sectors of the economy.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The official said the service sector, which accounts for the bulk of the regional economy, sustained its share of 37.2 percent in 2012.

She said the industry sector slightly grew to 33 percent last year from its share of 32.2 percent in 2011.

Caraan said the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AHFF) sector contributed 29.9 percent of the region’s total economic output in 2012.

“The service sector almost doubled its 2011 performance, registering a growth of 8.1 percent in 2012 from a 4.3 percent growth in the previous year,” she said in a presentation on the 2012 regional economic performance.

The official said all services subsectors posted accelerated growths except for transport, storage and communication that slowed down to 5.5 percent in 2012 from 7.3 percent in 2011.

She said financial intermediation expanded to 12.6 percent from 4.7 percent while real estate, renting and business activities grew by 10.5 percent from 6.8 percent.

Trade expanded by 9 percent from 3.5 percent, public administration and defense rebounded to 7.4 percent in 2012 from a negative 0.1 percent growth in 2011 and other services posted a growth of 6 percent in 2012 from 3.1 percent in the previous year, she said.

Caraan said the Industry sector slightly expanded by 0.8 percentage point or from 10 percent in 2011 to 10.8 percent in 2012.

She said the strong performances of construction, electricity, gas and water supply as well as mining and quarrying cushioned the lackluster performance of manufacturing.

Construction rebounded to 9.4 percent growth in 2012 from negative 12 percent in 2011 while electricity, gas and water supply subsector expanded by 5 percent from 2.4 percent, she said.

She said mining and quarrying expanded to 12.1 percent from 6.6 percent.

But Caraan said manufacturing, which is the biggest industry subsector, dropped to 12 percent from its 19.1 percent growth in the previous year.

She said the AHFF sector grew faster at 5.4 percent in 2012 from a modest growth of 1.8 percent in 2011.

Fishing, which comprised 5.2 percent share of the region’s AHFF, rebounded from negative 11.5 percent in 2011 to 16.8 percent growth in 2012, she said.

“The lustrous performance was attributed to the remarkable increase in the region’s commercial fish production brought about by the lifting of the ban for tuna fishing in the deep seas around Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Micronesia, which are the fishing grounds of fishing companies based in the region,” she noted.

Caraan said commercial fishing accounted for the biggest share of the region’s fishing industry at about 75 percent.

“The industry sector contributed 3.5 percentage points to the region’s economic growth in 2012 while the service sector chipped in 3 percentage points. The AHFF sector managed to contribute 1.6 percentage points to the total economic growth of the region,” she added.

Arturo Valero, National Economic and Development Authority Region 12 director, attributed the area’s positive economic performance to the entry of more investments on processing activities in the area in 2012.

“These activities were designed to process the agriculture products of the region,” he said.

Raymund Salangsang, president of the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., said the opening of SM City General Santos last year and last month’s unveiling of the KCC Mall’s Veranza expansion project helped further accelerate the area’s economic growth.

“They eventually helped generate more employment,” he said.

Upbeat with the Region 12’s strong economic performance, Salangsang said they are presently pushing for more trade expansions and the entry of major investments into the area.

He said the area’s trade and investment climate has been continually thriving as shown by the 8.1 percent growth of the regional economy in 2012.

“The local economy is performing well so now is the best time to expand and invest on major ventures in the area,” he said in an interview over TV Patrol Socsksargen.

Salangsang added that among the industries that have posted positive growths and considered as promising are fishing, agriculture and services. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)