• P399B infra budget to hasten inclusive development

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    THE P399-billion proposed budget for public infrastructure projects in 2014 may remove constraints to inclusive development, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

    In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the amount is 35 percent more than the P295 billion appropriated this year for infrastructure development.

    “The dramatic surge in infrastructure spending next year will lower the cost of transporting goods and people, support agricultural productivity, reduce risks from disasters, and generate economic investments and employment.  The proposed projects will ultimately benefit the poor and vulnerable sectors,” he said.

    Balisacan said that most of these projects will support the government’s Transport Infrastructure Development Program, which is a P180-billion convergence initiative led by the Department of Transportation and Communication and supported by the Departments of Public Works and Highways, Agriculture, Science and Technology, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

    “The overall allocation of P399 billion is about 3 percent of our gross domestic product [GDP] target for 2014.  By 2016, planned infrastructure spending will amount to about PhP820 billion, or approximately 5 percent of GDP,” he added.

    Earlier, the Department of Budget and Management said that the government is focusing its next year’s budget for economic services to infrastructure spending.

    “We intend to channel more investments into infrastructure development and other public services that are pivotal to our pursuit of rapid, sustained and inclusive growth. At the same time, we’re intensifying our efforts at refining our social welfare and development programs, in line with the administration’s goal of strengthening our own human capital,” Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said. MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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