Urgent matters involving the 2017 budget and other agenda that will improve government processes are the topics for discussion when the interagency body, the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), meets today.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said on Monday that the DBCC is to prepare the draft of the 2017 national budget which is to be submitted to the Congress 30 days after the July 25 state of the nation address of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We will make sure that budget allocations are spent to purposes they are intended and spent quickly and efficiently,” he said.
According to the 2016 General Appropriations Act estimated by the previous administration, the 2017 outlay may hit P3.35 trillion, 11.6 percent higher than this year’s P3.002 trillion.
Pernia, who is also the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said the interagency body would also find ways to cut red tape in project approval implementation “so that the government can get the output and the outcomes at a faster pace.”
“We hope to be able to enjoy the outcomes of these projects during our term because many of these projects, especially infrastructure projects, take time. The gestation period is pretty long. Energy projects takes a year to three years. Roads, airports, transport projects also take a long time,” he added.
In this respect, Pernia said the interagency body would discuss ways to reduce by half the time usually taken for approving projects, so that the much-needed projects can proceed more quickly. This, he added, would be done, “without sacrificing the soundness and integrity of the projects,” which, he explained, is one of the important objectives.
The NEDA chief also stressed that the DBCC also wants to be able to show some tangible results within the first 100 days of the Duterte Administration, especially in terms of easing, to some extent, the traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
“That is an urgent agendum and on the part of law and order President Duterte wants to show some results also within the first 100 days—that there is improvement and people feel it as well as that the long queues in getting birth certificates, passports, licenses, and other permits are reduced to the minimum,” he added.
The DBCC reviews and approves the macroeconomic targets, revenue projections, borrowing level, aggregate budge level and expenditure priorities and it makes recommendations to the Cabinet and the President on the consolidated public sector financial position and the national government’s fiscal program.
It is composed of the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance, NEDA, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Office of the President.