Infra spending accelerates


The government’s spending for infrastructure during the first eight months of the year, totaling P1.2 trillion, set a record in expenditure growth compared to the average during the past eight years.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that the country’s budget allotment and expenses for infrastructure and capital outlay increased by 38.5 percent to P169.6 billion in August. It was P122.4 billion in the same period last year.

In a statement, the DBM said that January to August disbursements for infrastructure projects totaled P1.2 trillion, which is a 12.6-percent, or P137.1-billion increase compared to same period in 2012.

The agency added that the January to August growth in infrastructure spending is “higher than the average growth rate” in the past eight years.

“We’re looking at speeding up our spending momentum for infrastructure and other key expenditures, in line with our goal of pushing infrastructure spending to 5 percent of our GDP [gross domestic product]by 2016,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said, referring to the government’s current 2.5-percent infrastructure spending in relation to GDP.

Since the 12.6-percent spending growth rate for the month of August was lower than July’s 13.6 percent, Abad said that the government is determining problem areas and bottlenecks that contributed to the slowing of infrastructure spending compared to July.

On the other hand, the infrastructure spending boost was boosted by an increase in irrigation projects of Department of Agriculture- National Irrigation Administration, mainly the Agno River integrated irrigation project, Balog-balog project, and other small irrigation projects and rehabilitation of existing irrigation systems nationwide.

Abad said that other than infrastructure spending, expenditures in personnel services, maintenance and other operating expenses, as well as government-owned and -controlled companies subsidies also contributed to the growth of government expenditures for August.

“Government expenditures are expected to climb further in the remaining months of the year, thanks to several budget reforms that helped make disbursements more efficient. To date, we have already released 91 percent of the P2.006-trillion obligation program for the year. These releases will support the quick implementation of key programs and projects designed to generate rapid and sustainable economic growth,” Abad said.


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