Spending spree: Gov’t sees P5 trillion expenditures by time Duterte term ends
Public expenditures for priority programs and projects will breach P5 trillion by the time President Duterte ends his term in 2022, in line with the government’s plan to widen the yearly budget deficit to 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
The government had programmed to spend P3.774 trillion this year, P4.2 trillion next year, P4.7 trillion in 2021, and a record P5.2 trillion in 2022, Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) documents showed.
For 2019 to 2022, the government wanted to ramp up spending, especially on infrastructure, such that the DBCC widened the annual budget-deficit cap to 3.2 percent of GDP from 3 percent previously.
The wider ceiling was equivalent to a nominal budget deficit of P624.4 billion for 2019, P677.6 billion for 2020, P747.7 billion for 2021, and P823.5 billion for 2022.
The programmed expenditures in the next four years will outpace the projected total tax and non-tax revenues of P3.1 trillion this year, P3.5 trillion next year, P3.9 trillion in 2021, and P4.4 trillion in 2022.
The government could also raise at least P2 billion a year by selling idle assets, like land.
As of end-June 2019, the budget deficit was a narrower P42.6 billion compared to the P193 billion during the same six-month period in 2018 due to underspending on public goods and services at the start of the year, no thanks to corruption-laden pork funds that delayed approval by Congress of the P3.7-trillion 2019 national budget.
President Duterte signed the 2019 appropriations only on April 15 as a result.
First quarter growth in 2019 also suffered, falling into a four-year low of 5.6 percent.
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Officer-in-Charge Janet B. Abuel had said the government can still achieve the budget-deficit program for 2019 through its spending catch-up plan which would pour at least P803 billion on projects.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on Thursday (Aug. 1) expressed optimism that there won’t be a repeat of the budget delay.
“For next year, I believe that the budget will be approved on time and that we will not experience the same delays,” he said./tsb
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