• Govt sets projects under TRIP

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    The government is set to roll out infrastructure projects under a three-year program that aims to sustain rapid economic growth, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) revealed on Thursday.

    In a statement, the DBM said projects under the Three-Year Rolling Infrastructure Program (TRIP) include basic infrastructure services and facilities linked to climate resiliency, competitiveness, agricultural sustainability, governance, security, and bridging gaps in poor, hazard-prone, and emerging growth areas.

    The agency said the projects are set to be rolled out in July this year but gave no specific details about how much the projects under the 2017-2019 program will cost.

    The DBM also said fiscal agencies are pushing for higher infrastructure spending in 2017 in a bid to further improve public infrastructure, raise potential economic growth, and reduce poverty in the country.

    This will entail not only allocating more funds to build quality infrastructure, but also linking medium-term plan priorities to annual budgetary considerations, it said.

    Citing a 2016 International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper exploring the macroeconomic effects of improving public infrastructure in the Philippines, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said, “Closing the gap between planning and budgeting could lead to GDP [gross domestic product]growth rates between 9 and 11 percent within 15 years.”

    “This can be done by prioritizing new programs within the respective budget ceilings of agencies that supports the strategic priorities of the country or the desired outcomes that we want to achieve over the medium term,” said Abad.

    Abad added that for medium-term planning to be an effective instrument for socio-economic development, it should not be independent of the annual budget process.

    Infrastructure expenditures now account for 5 percent of GDP, a figure considered the benchmark for infrastructure spending to sustain growth and attract investments that create jobs.

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