Infrastructure spending or capital outlay surged 49.2 percent to P49.8 billion in the first two months of the year, underlying the government’s continuous commitment to rapid, sustainable, and inclusive economic development.
In a statement, the Department of Budget and Management said infra spending in January and February last year totaled only P33.3 billion, or P16.5 billion lower than this year’s level.
Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said that the increase in infrastructure spending boosted overall government disbursements to P313 billion in the first two months, 11 percent higher than the P282 billion recorded during the same period of 2013.
Abad said that notable infrastructure disbursements for February include spending for the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program of the Department of National Defense, various infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, several transport infrastructure projects like the renovation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 by the Department of Transportation and Communications, and the health facilities enhancement program of the Department of Health, among others.
“The Aquino Administration’s reforms for faster budget execution continue to gain momentum. For one, the GAA [General Appropriations Act]-as-Release Document policy allowed us to streamline the budget release process and enable government agencies to roll out infrastructure projects early in the fiscal year. In the past, infrastructure projects usually started late—during the rainy season—which led to construction delays, poor quality, and additional costs,” Abad said.
He added that other major reforms are being implemented to enable faster, more efficient, and more transparent public spending. These include the shift to a cashless and checkless disbursement system, the early procurement of infrastructure projects, and the disaggregation of the National Budget into detailed programs and projects.
“We expect to ramp up infrastructure and other priority disbursements further for the succeeding months, particularly post-Yolanda reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. As we deeply embed reforms in the processes of government departments and agencies, we are enabling them to improve their utilization of public funds,” Abad said.