Duterte admin to spend P890.9B on infra next year
THE Duterte administration will spend a record P890.9 billion on vital infrastructure next year in line with plans to further hike expenditures to up to 7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) within the next six years, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will submit for President Duterte’s approval the proposed P3.35-trillion 2017 national budget, a record-high amount over a tenth bigger than this year’s P3.002 trillion, Diokno told reporters on Thursday.
Next year’s expenditures on infrastructure will account for 5.2 percent of GDP, Diokno said, adding that the Duterte administration will focus on “pure” infrastructure on top of capital outlays.
In the 2016 budget, P762.5 billion were allocated for capital outlays, of which P631.9 billion would be spent on infrastructure.
Diokno said more money will be infused into projects for the construction of new as well as improvement of airports, seaports, major roads and bridges, farm-to-market roads, as well as post-harvest facilities.
To rollout infrastructure projects faster, Diokno said the Duterte administration will order non-stop or 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week construction work on most urban-based projects, citing huge economic costs brought about by delays.
Asked how the new administration will address the slow absorptive capacity of government agencies when it comes to spending their budgets, which was among the reasons blamed for the underspending on public goods and services during the past few years, Diokno said the President “will not tolerate incompetence.”
“If you cannot perform, you’re out… We will not tolerate delays,” the Budget chief said.
Diokno said biddings for government projects will be conducted in the fourth quarter of the year prior to the year of implementation, short of award.
The Budget chief, however, said they will put on hold plans to construct new buildings for government offices, such as those planned for the Department of Finance, the National Economic and Development Authority as well as the Office of the Solicitor General.
Also, the Duterte administration will enjoin more public-private partnership (PPP) ventures in infrastructure, Diokno said. “We are open to unsolicited proposals, subject to Swiss Challenge. This will give us the opportunity to fast-track PPP projects,” he said.
Ramping up infrastructure spending to up to 7 percent of GDP before the end of the Duterte administration will help narrow the infrastructure gap, Diokno said, noting that the Philippines has among the worst infrastructure in Asean.
“In the short term, higher infrastructure spending will create jobs, increase incomes and boost the economy. For long term, it will propel us to a growth path of 7-8 percent [GDP expansion],” the budget chief said.
The Duterte administration has set an annual economic growth target of 7-8 percent from 2018 to 2022.
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