DOF: PPP projects to lead infra spending in next 2 years
As work on big-ticket infrastructure being financed by the tycoons’ deep pockets continued despite prolonged quarantine, public-private partnership (PPP) projects would take the lead in lifting the economy from its pandemic-induced recession this year and next year, Department of Finance (DOF) estimates showed.
The government also ramped up expenditures on infrastructure, which rose by 14.4 percent year-on-year to P107.4 billion as of end-February.
The latest Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data showed disbursements on infrastructure and other capital outlays increased from P93.9 billion in the first two months of last year mostly due to “payments for completed infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which were started late last year, and the mobilization costs for their current year’s projects (such as road widening, rehabilitation and improvement and flood control).”
“The construction of farm-to-market roads of the Department of Agriculture under the Bayanihan 2 [law], as well as payables related to the provision of farm machinery and equipment (such as tillers, tractors, seeders, threshers, rice planters and harvesters) to qualified farmer organizations as provided in Republic Act No. 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law, also contributed to the higher infrastructure and other capital expenditures,” the DBM said in a report.
In February alone, public infrastructure spending climbed to P56.1 billion from P45.6 billion a year ago and P51.3 billion a month ago.
In a webinar organized by European business chambers on Monday, presidential adviser on flagship programs and projects Secretary Vivencio Dizon said actual infrastructure spending this year might be less than expected amid the protracted pandemic.
The government had set aside P1.17 trillion, equivalent to 5.9 percent of gross domestic product, for infrastructure development this year.
Dizon noted that some projects were being hampered by COVID-19—for instance, the planned transfer of government offices to the facilities used during the Philippines’ hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games was delayed as it temporarily served as a quarantine and temporary medical hub.
—BEN O. DE VERA INQ
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