• Govt 8-mth spending rises 6.1% to P1.3T

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    DBM keeps infra target of 5% of GDP by 2016

    Government spending in the eight months to August rose 6.1 percent from a year earlier, with capital outlay on infrastructure continuing to grow at a measured pace while social services and education got their usual large chunks of the budget.

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said in a statement on Monday total government spending stood at P1.296 trillion as of August this year, up by P74.5 billion from the comparable period a year earlier.

    Spending on infrastructure and other capital outlays during the period increased 3.9 percent to P176.2 billion from P169.6 billion a year earlier.

    “Aside from the social services and education sectors, our socio-economic plan is dedicated to pouring investments toward infrastructure development. That’s why we’ve been continuously expanding our budget for infrastructure since we [the Aquino Administration]came in, with a set target of 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2016,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

    “This goal is also supported by the budget reforms that we’ve instituted this year. For one, the GAA [General Appropriations Act]-as-release document reform ensures that funds are sufficiently made available to agencies for their respective programs and projects at the start of the year,” he added.

    The DBM said that with the implementation of the GAA-as-a-release document this year, total allotments made available to departments/agencies for obligation as of August amounted to P2.050 trillion, about 91 percent of the P2.265 trillion obligation program for the year.

    This was higher by P229.7 billion or 12.6 percent than the allotments released for the same period last year in the amount of P1.821 trillion, it said.

    The agency noted that among the departments which recorded significant increases in allotments are the Department of Public Works and Highways with P54.6 billion or 31.1 percent growth; and the Department of Transportation and Communications with a P22.1 billion or 83.3 percent rise, for the implementation of infrastructure development projects.

    Other agencies with significant allotments were the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for major social programs; the Department of Education and the Department of Interior and Local Government to cover mostly Personnel Services requirements of newly filled positions, and other locally funded projects, it added.

    In addition, the DBM also mentioned that subsidies to government-owned and-controlled corporations continued to expand further by 71.7 percent through releases to the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the implementation of the 2012 Resettlement Program, as well as the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for its 2014 Sitio Electrification Program.

    Meanwhile, disbursements for maintenance and other operating expenditures (MOOE) registered a 10.3-percent increase in August, bringing cumulative growth to P11.1 billion or 6 percent for the first eight months of 2014.

    The DBM said that the increase in MOOE disbursement was brought about by the implementation of the National Community-Driven Development Project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, plus the fund requirements for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference in 2015.

    On the other hand, Abad expressed optimism in improving the spending pace through the creation of new positions under bids and awards committees in key departments.

    The hiring of additional procurement personnel aims to substantially improve the performance of agencies in terms of their procurement activities.

    “We’ve been working with key implementing agencies to clear the bottlenecks in the procurement process. By opening up these new positions in the various bids and awards committees, procurement activities can proceed faster and more efficiently. Measures like this should facilitate further improvement in public expenditures and allow us to jumpstart procurement for next year,” Abad concluded.

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