• H1 infra spending up 42.2% to P125.5B

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    Government spending for infrastructure and other capital outlays (CO) in the first half of 2013 jumped to P125.5 billion, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported on Thursday.

    The DBM noted that this was higher by P37.2 billion or 42.2 percent from last year’s outturn.

    Meanwhile, total government spending for the period reached P890.8 billion, P95.4 billion or 12 percent higher than the P795.3 billion tracked in the first semester of 2012.

    The DBM said that the sustained momentum in public spending is also reflected in the 14.9-percent year-on-year increase in disbursements for the second quarter, which is almost 6 percent higher than the first quarter growth of 9.1 percent.

    Disbursements from April to June this year are also considered the highest in the last seven years, with the exception of 2009 second-quarter figures.

    Furthermore, personnel service disbursements grew by P27.6 billion or 10.8 percent to P289.9 billion, because of the last tranche of the salary increase for government employees under the Salary Standardization Law III, compensation for government personnel involved in the conduct of the national elections last May, and the newly-created teaching, police and firefighter positions.

    Interest payments also increased by P7.1 billion or 4.8 percent from last year’s level to service domestic borrowings, particularly on fixed-rate and retail treasury bonds issued in the second half of 2012 and first quarter of 2013.

    Allotments to local governments also rose by 10.6 percent year-on-year, bringing the first-semester level to P120.9 billion.

    “We continue to work very closely with key implementing agencies not only to facilitate swift and efficient public spending, but also to ensure that our disbursement activities are fully aligned with the [Aquino] administration’s broader growth objectives,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

    He also noted that procurement reforms will continue to play a central role in ensuring faster and more efficient spending in the next fiscal year, particularly in view of the recent submission of the proposed 2014 budget.

    “We already required agencies to jump-start the procurement process right after the budget submission, which will enable them to devote the last quarter of the year to advance procurement activities. This includes bidding out projects short of award, so agencies can hit the ground running with their programs the moment the budget is successfully enacted,” Abad said.

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