2016 budget boosts govt spending capacity

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THE newly approved 2016 Budget will focus on boosting government agencies’ capacities to plan, procure and implement projects, according to the Department of Budget and Management.

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The proposed budget for 2016 is 15.2 percent higher than 2015’s national budget of P2.606-trillion, which is the Aquino Administration’s strategy for greater inclusive growth and reform.

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said in a statement released on the DBM’s website that the target of the proposed budget is to work on the previous reforms that the current administration has worked on.

“With this proposed budget, we can build on our reform successes over the last five years, as well as take on the challenges in our bid for inclusive development,” Abad said.

“This is a sizeable budget proposal, however, so our focus now is to help our agencies make optimal use of their allocations. This includes enhancing their capacities for budget planning, procurement, and project implementation, all of which are key to the prompt delivery of public services and the continuing growth of our economy,” the budget chief said.

Sustainable growth
University of Asia and the Pacific economics Professor Cid Terosa said the spending plan proposed by the budget department is the best strategy to use for the economy because it will promote sustainable growth.

“We need to sustain programs over a long period of time. Within legal bounds, the budget must show the path we are taking towards long-term economic growth,” said Terosa.

She also said that the economic growth contributed by this budget plan can be sustained even years beyond 2016 if the budget is strictly followed.

“If the government spends according to the budget, growth can be sustained. But politics can ruin many things,” Terosa warned.

 Poor budget implementation
Former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said he was wondering what these reform successes are being claimed by the DBM, noting that one major reform, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), was rather unsuccessful.

“It has shown poor implementation capability for programs and projects already authorized by Congress. I estimate that it has underspent more than half a trillion pesos over a period of three years. In all cases, Congress has approved what the president has requested in time, that is, before the start of every fiscal year. Yet, it has failed to implement the budget. This suggests both poor budget planning and budget execution,” said Diokno.

Diokno also said it was the government’s failure to implement the yearly budget that has denied the Filipinos the benefit of public infrastructures such as better roads, airports, school facilities and irrigation canals.

He also added that this failure resulted in missed opportunities for massive job creation and poverty alleviation.

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