Abad: Improved budget execution to spur growth

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Outgoing Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said improved budget execution and procurement will allow the Philippine economy to grow even better in the second quarter of 2016 to exceed the 6.9 percent expansion recorded in the first quarter.

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“Many of the problems we encountered before in budget execution are being addressed already and the efficiency of our procurement system has also dramatically improved,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 2016 Plenary Conference of the Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia (PEMNA) held at the Philippine International Convention Center on Wednesday.

PEMNA is a peer-learning network of PFM practitioners to help countries in the Asia-Pacific region to improve public spending management.

Abad said the Aquino Administration’s public finance management (PFM) reform initiatives aimed to strengthen the whole PFM cycle from planning, budgeting, management, accounting, reporting, and reviewing to auditing of government services.

“We are almost done with a compendium of the PFM reforms that we initiated six years ago and that is being collated with some recommendations on how to sustain them and how to proceed from where we ended up,” he said.

Besides PFM reforms, the impact of election spending will also be more heightened in the second quarter, he added.

“I think those two things combined, gives us optimism that the second quarter may be even better than the first,” said Abad.

“We expect even better performance in the second quarter and so if more efforts are in fact devoted to attracting more tourists, more FDIs [foreign direct investments], get the PPPs [public-private partnership] inaugurated in the shortest possible time, then this economy and government will continue to be in good shape,” he concluded.

In the first quarter of 2016, gross domestic product (GDP) grew faster at 6.9 percent from the 5 percent expansion a year earlier, hitting its fastest expansion in 11 quarters.

The result was also an improvement from the upwardly revised 6.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth recorded three months earlier, and the highest since the 7.6 percent in the second quarter of 2013.

It also settled within the 6.8 to 7.8 percent growth the government targeted this year
The government said the data showed the continuing high-growth trajectory of the country’s economy.  It also increases the likelihood of achieving the government’s GDP growth projection for full-year 2016 despite the weak agriculture and fishery sector.

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