DBM estimates Q2 govt spending up 12.4%

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Government spending in the second quarter of 2015 likely grew at a double-digit pace of 12.4 percent from P505.2 billion a year earlier, according to a preliminary estimate by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

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The official figures for June have yet to be released by the DBM, but aggregate government spending in April and May stood at P331.7 billion.

The combined April-May figure alone has far surpassed the total first-quarter spending of P188.5 billion during the first quarter of this year.

“For the second quarter, we project that [government spending]is going to be 12.4 percent higher than that of the second quarter last year,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told reporters on Tuesday.

Analysts had traced the economy’s slowdown in the first quarter to underspending by the government, which the Administration blamed on constitutional restraints placed on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) under the Office of the President.

First-quarter growth in gross domestic product (GDP) settled at a slower-than-expected 5.2 percent, down from 6.9 percent a quarter ago and far short of the government’s 7 percent to 8 percent target for this year.

An analyst at Accord Capital Equities Corp., Justino Calaycay Jr., had pointed out that a huge surplus could be a symptom of the excessively high premium the government placed on fiscal discipline.

“While that is laudable, it has shown through the years how underspending tempers growth,” he said earlier this month. “We can argue along the same breath but from a different perspective – imagine what growth pace we would’ve registered if public spending went as programmed,” he added.

The DBM on Tuesday pointed out, however, government spending gathered momentum in April to reach P156.5 billion, up 9 percent from P143.6 billion a year earlier. In May, as the latest data from the DBM showed, disbursements increased further by P14.7 billion or 9.2 percent to P175.2 billion, up from P160.5 billion in the corresponding period of 2014.

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