The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Tuesday that the government increased its infrastructure and capital outlay expenditures by 20 percent, or P37.9-billion as of November 2013.

In a statement, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that the additional infrastructure expenditures were made “to sustain economic momentum” of the country.

“Even with the development challenges posed on our economy by consecutive calamities—and the toll these disasters took on government operations—our disbursements for infrastructure and other capital outlay by end-November nonetheless posted double-digit growth levels. This is in fact consistent with the year-on-year spending improvements we’ve made from the beginning of 2013,” he said.

The budget secretary added that infrastructure spending would further accelerate in 2014, in the wake of the decline of government spending share in the gross domestic product (GDP) last year.

“We’re continuing that same trend this year, where we ramp up infrastructure and other priority expenditures to sustain our economic momentum and ensure the delivery improved public services,” he added.

The budget chief noted that based on the November DBM data, total government disbursements went up by 9.2 percent, or P141.7 billion to P1.677 trillion, compared to the P1.535 trillion in 2012, “despite natural and man-made calamities experienced in the fourth quarter.”

“It’s also worth noting that while last year’s disasters may have affected government spending, we can expect disbursements to move at a faster clip in the succeeding months, especially because we plan to make swifter disbursements for rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in all calamity-affected areas,” Abad said.

“These efforts will be backed by the validity extension for remaining Calamity and Quick Response [QR] funds, government savings, unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations under the 2013 budget so they can still be used for post-disaster activities this year,” he added.

He also said that the P14.6-billion supplemental appropriations will be added to the 2013 Calamity and QR funds that would serve as a repair and reconstruction fund of permanent structures and establishments in areas affected by natural and man-made disasters.

The DBM added that it released a total of P1.912 trillion, or 95.3 percent of the total P2.006-trillion obligation in 2013 based on November data.

“This covers 96.8 percent of specific budgets of national government agencies and departments under the 2013 [General Appropriations Act],” the department said.

Notable releases last year included funding support to the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) housing program for informal settler families; pension, terminal leave, retirement gratuity and other benefits of retiring government employees; and QR funds under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide immediate assistance to area affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.


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