Quicker spending unleashes P61.5 billion for infrastructure in May alone | Inquirer Business
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Quicker spending unleashes P61.5 billion for infrastructure in May alone

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 03:25 PM July 08, 2019

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has spent P61.5 billion on infrastructure in the month of May alone, indicating a surge in spending on projects that Duterte’s economic team had projected would spur growth.

Data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed disbursements on infrastructure and capital outlay in May rose by 5.9 percent from P58.1 billion in the same month in 2018 and was more than double the P28.3 billion spent last April.

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The surge in infrastructure spending reversed a 56.9 percent contraction in April, the DBM said in a report.

The driving force behind the surge, according to the DBM, was the rollout of foreign-funded projects by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Military spending for modernization also helped push disbursements up.

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But the money disbursed by the government for infrastructure development in the first five months of 2019 was a little pale compared to what it spent in the same period in 2018.

DBM data showed the government spent P267.9 billion from January to May 2019 compared to P280.8 billion in the same period in 2018.

The spending was made possible by the enactment of the P3.7-trillion national budget which suffered a delay as a result of bickering in Congress over pork funds which are sources of kickbacks.

Duterte signed the budget into law at more than four months late ending a period of spending using a reenacted 2018 budget which led to underspending of at least P1 billion a day on public goods and services.

Underspending was also partly blamed on the Commission on Elections’ failure to exempt key projects from a ban for the May 13 voting meant to prevent incumbent officials from riding on ongoing projects for mileage or diverting funds for those to their campaigns.

The Philippines’ gross domestic product suffered as a result, slowing to a four-year low of 5.6 percent way below the government’s revised target of up to 7 percent.

To make up for lost time, Duterte’s economic team rolled out a “bold” spending plan to catch up, unleashing a quicker pace for more than P800 billion worth of DOTr and DPWH projects for 2019.

The move was expected to pump economic growth to more than 6 percent in 2019. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)

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TAGS: Budget, DBM, disbursement, DOTr, DPWH, Duterte, economy, Infrastructure, Projects
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