P121-M road tax inefficiently used

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THE P121-million remittance of road user’s tax from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) proved that the management of public fund meant for road maintenance was “inefficient,” according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

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Auditors underscored in its report on the Motorists Users Vehicle Charge (MVUC) that a total of P121.97 million was simply returned to the National Treasury.

Usually, state accountants urge government agencies to remit to the National Treasury unspent public funds, however, too much of it would indicate mismanagement, COA said.

The audit team commented that the P121.97 million indicated “inefficient management of funds, thus, resulting in the delayed or non-implementation of approved projects.”

This means that the tax imposed on motorists of all types for drainage and maintenance of primary and secondary thoroughfares was not properly spent as it was only remitted back to the Treasury.

Details show that 10 regions across the country returned a portion of the notice of cash allocations (NCA) and notice of transfer allocation, with the National Capital Region (NCR) with the biggest return at P23.36 million.

According to the NCR’s regional office, the materials for the operation of the Anti-Truck Overloading Mobile Enforcement program were not purchased during the year.

The Third Metro Manila Engineering District said that releases of NCA by the Budget department for April and December 2012 were already late.

The Mimaropa region returned P22.46 million while the Cordillera Administrative Region returned P16.85 million, both citing delay in the procurement and project implementation.

Other regions include: Bicol Region (P15.36 million), Western Visayas (P12.44 million), Central Luzon (P8.39 million), Ilocos Region (P8.28 million), Eastern Visayas (P6.29 million), Zamboanga Peninsula (P4.59 million) and Soccsksargen (P3.9 million).

“Had there been an efficient and effective cash management of the MVUC allocations, the released [allocations]could have been fully utilized for the construction and routine maintenance of roadside and carriage ways that benefits the public,” auditors commented.

The audit team asked the DPWH to “formulate a realistic and attainable cash flow and work plan” to ensure that programs activities are executed within schedule.

A budget and performance tracking system must also be in place to monitor the use of allotments in order to prevent the lapsing of cash allocations, COA said.

In their reply, the DPWH, the lead agency benefiting from the MVUC, said that the reversion of P5.31 million was due to the excess release of P3.04 million “which was unprogrammed.”

Officials at the third engineering district of Metro Manila meanwhile commented that a cash program expenditure based on the Program Infrastructure Plan will be prepared. JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON

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