Infra spending jumps 53.9% in Sept but nine-month expenditures below target
MANILA, Philippines — Public spending on infrastructure climbed 53.9 percent to P100.3 billion in September but nine-month expenditures on these capital-intensive projects remained below government target no thanks to underspending at the beginning of the year.
The latest Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data released Thursday showed that disbursements on infrastructure and other capital outlay last September increased by over a half of the P65.2 billion during the same month last year.
Infrastructure spending in September also exceeded by 69 percent of the P59.3 billion spent in August.
Last September, “infrastructure spending is buoyed primarily by completed and partially completed projects of the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] such as construction, upgrading, repair and rehabilitation of roads, bridges and flood-control structures,” DBM said in a report.
Also, “capital expenditures related to the purchase of military equipment under the Revised AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] Modernization Program of the DND [Department of National Defense], and the construction of the new Supreme Court building of the judiciary ramped up infrastructure spending for the month,” DBM added.
However, DBM data showed that the total of P546.3 billion in public expenditures on infrastructure and other capital outlays from January to September was 8.1-percent below the P594.5-billion program for the nine-month period.
Actual government spending on infrastructure as of September also declined 4.3 percent from P570.8 billion a year ago.
DBM nonetheless noted that the end-September infrastructure spending drop was narrower than the 11.7-percent decline posted during the first six months.
According to DBM, national government spending on public goods and services continued to catch up to the program, while blaming underspending at the start of the year to the late passage of the P3.7-trillion 2019 national budget and the ban on new public works projects ahead of the midterm elections last May 13.
The delayed approval of this year’s budget – which slowed economic growth to 5.5 percent in the first half as the government-operated using reenacted 2018 appropriations from January to April –stemmed from squabbles among legislators over alleged “pork” funds.