Consumer Spending

Opinions Unlimited

by Atty. Tony(APA) Acyatan (Atty. APA – chairman of Acyatan & Co., CPAs-DFK International is PICPA past national president and Accountancy Hall-of-Famer, and past chairman of ASEAN Federation of CPAs).

RETAIL:  The consumer market is definitely on the upswing – more so now that the Yuletide season has come.  The malls and department stores are all busy – with customers trying to buy as much as they can afford – vainly trying to beat the price increases.  All these indicate that the Pinoy consumer power is positive – not only with the spending money they have now, but also with great faith that their credit buying are not only justified, but that they can afford the subsequent payments.

Credit card companies and also the financial institutions are “selling” their credit cards with overly liberal evaluations.  This is outright dangerous.  The delinquency rates of our credit card companies are among the highest in Asia.  The card companies compete with one another to solicit so-called qualified spenders. The banks that back up the credit cards will suffer if and when the credit card holders fail to pay both principal and interests on their purchases.

SENTIMENTS:  Filipino consumers are visibly “upbeat and fairly confident” – convinced that the domestic economy will continue to improve as the new year comes.  There is also anticipation that the local currency will be stronger as against the measuring stick which is the US dollar.  They anchor this view on the continuing inflow of OFW remittances and the growth of our gross international reserves thereby assuring foreign investors of our capability to “pay back”.

For the third quarter and early in this quarter, the overall consumer confidence continued to improve.  This was supported by the higher-than-expected growth of gross domestic product (GDP) which is a high 7.5%.  Despite all these, there are also those who are dissatisfied with their economic status, claiming that they are not benefitting from the economic improvements because they are still unemployed or that the income they are receiving are insufficient for their sustenance.

BANANAS:  The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and National Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) successfully embarked on a novel program to help small farmers grow bananas by using tissue-cultured cultivars of saba, lakatan and latundan varieties.  One of the areas covered by their experiment is the “REINA” of Northern Quezon which is frequently visited by typhoons.  They claim that bananas are short-term crops and could re-grow right away after being ravaged by bad weather.

Conveniently called Science and Technology Anchor Program (STAP) BANANAS – it utilizes ST-based integrated crop management program and good agricultural practices for growing bananas.  It calls for the use of pathogen-free tissue cultured planting materials, application of fertilizers, and population management and sanitation.  Indeed this project is adaptable in the whole of the Bicol Region and Quezon and Laguna provinces.

EURO IRE:  Some years back – there was this big time plan to dredge Laguna Lake and use it as potential transportation medium from Rizal and Laguna to Metro-Manila.  This was the program dubbed as Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Program (LLRP) which will cost P18.7 billion.  The project was proposed by a Belgian-German firm intended to reduce flooding, revive the lake and stimulate fishery production.

For some logical justifications, the P-Noy administration canceled or deferred the program, thereby shoving aside the proposal and EU proponents. Now the whole European Union is threatening to hit back at the Philippines.  The Europeans have started strict inspections of our coconut oil exports geared to “punish” us for the cancellation of their offered project.  Well – if our oil products are truly “bankable” we should be able to locate new markets that are NOT as demanding as Europe/Belgium.

LESSON:  For this Christmas season, give without remembering, and always receive without forgetting.

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