Infrastructure spending exceeded budget in 1st half
Public spending on infrastructure during the first half rose 8.8 percent year-on-year to P249.1 billion and exceeded the program as the government built new roads and school buildings in June, the latest Department of Budget and Management documents showed.
End-June disbursements on infrastructure and other capital outlays increased from P229 billion a year ago and surpassed by 5.3 percent the P236.6-billion program for the six-month period.
The year-on-year growth in infrastructure spending during the first semester was nonetheless dwarfed by the 52.3-percent jump last year as the government ramped up expenditures ahead of the 2016 national elections.
In a report, the DBM said the actual infrastructure disbursements from January to June were higher than the programmed amount due to “payments of accounts payable of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) due to accelerated and partly completed infrastructure projects, [and] aircraft acquisition under the Department of National Defense modernization program.”
DBM data showed that during the second quarter, expenditures on infrastructure and other capital outlays climbed 5.9 percent year-on-year to P131.6 billion, exceeding by 3 percent the P127.7-billion program for the three-month period.
The DBM attributed the increase in spending from April to June to the implementation of infrastructure projects of the DPWH fast-tracked in May this year to recover from the delays encountered in the earlier months.
Also, the submission of progress billings from the DPWH’s contractors had been more regular and frequent due to completed works as a result of the accelerated project implementation in the second quarter, the DBM added.
During the month of June alone, infrastructure disbursements jumped 11.4 percent year-on-year and 12.2 percent month-on-month to P51.9 billion.
In June, infrastructure and other capital expenditures remained strong as a result of the implementation of road infrastructure projects of the DPWH, payments for completed irrigation projects implemented by the National Irrigation Administration when it was still attached to the Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Secretary, and some capital outlay projects of state universities and colleges such as construction or renovation of buildings and purchase of machinery and equipment, the DBM explained.
For 2017, the Cabinet-level interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee had programmed infrastructure expenditures to reach P549.4 billions or 3.5 percent of gross domestic product.
The government must spend P312.7 billion on infrastructure in the second half.
Under its “Build, Build, Build” program, the Duterte administration plans to spend up to P9 trillion until 2022 to usher in a “golden age of infrastructure.” Infrastructure spending had been programmed to rise to P1.84 trillion or 7.3 percent of GDP in 2022.
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