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Hike in workers’ pay pushed up gov’t expenses in January

By: Ronnel W. Domingo, March 26th, 2013 08:53 PM

The government spent P40.8 billion to settle the salaries and benefits of public sector workers last January, completing the pay hikes set under the Salary Standardization Law III.

Last month’s expenses represented a jump of 13.4 percent, or P4.8 billion, from the amount registered in the same month last year.

Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said in a statement that higher claims for retirement gratuity and terminal leave benefits also pushed up disbursements on personnel services.

The surge seen in the settlement of government workers’ pay and claims coincided with an 11-percent rise in overall public expenditures for the month, which hit P157.9 billion.

“We’re seeing a remarkable improvement in our expenditure performance, with infrastructure and capital outlay investments leading the way,” Abad said.

Spending on infrastructure and other capital outlays rose 43.1 percent to P16.4 billion in January.

Data from the Department of Budget and Management showed that spending on maintenance and other operating expenses grew by 48.9 percent, to P29.8 billion. This was due to the early release of funds for beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer program.

In 2012, personnel services represented the single biggest item in the government’s full-year bill at P542.6 billion.

Also, Abad cited how infrastructure spending rose by 57.7 percent in 2012.

Last year, the government spent P250.8 billion on infrastructure, which is P91.7 billion more than that of the previous year. However, when taken in the context of the government’s fiscal program, the amount was short by P47.5 billion, or 15.9 percent.

“Last year’s spending levels will buoy our growth strategy (in 2013) as we look forward to pouring more investments into infrastructure and capital outlay in 2013,” Abad said.

“The development of roads and bridges, as well as ongoing initiatives to increase access to tourism hotspots and improve irrigation facilities will help generate jobs and create thriving markets for local industries,” he added.

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