DBM forces agencies to speed up spendingBy Ronnel W. Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Department of Budget and Management will “increase pressure” on executive departments and agencies to speed up the use of public funds which, in turn, can drive up domestic growth.
Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad cited economic planners when he said that growth in the first quarter could be attributed to strong government spending, especially in infrastructure.
Data from the National Statistics and Coordination Board showed that, compared with last year, the public construction sector grew by 62.2 percent, while government consumption increased by 24 percent.
Abad said government spending for key antipoverty and social programs also buoyed first-quarter growth. These include the conditional cash transfer program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, salary increases under the Salary Standardization Law III, and priority programs for rice and other agricultural products.
“We expect to further boost the present momentum for government consumption through intervention measures for line agencies,” Abad said.
For one, funds that are not committed to specific projects will be allotted instead to fast-moving projects to sustain the current pace of expenditure.
“This will allow us to clear bottlenecks in fund disbursements so that agencies can speed up the implementation of programs and projects and meet scheduled deadlines,” he explained.
Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the “impressive (and) expectation-defying” growth in the first quarter highlighted the country’s resilience, as well as its capacity to grow faster, providing jobs and eradicating poverty in the long run.
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