Infra spending jumped 44.6% to P 570.4B as of end-August | Inquirer Business
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Infra spending jumped 44.6% to P 570.4B as of end-August

DPWH, DOTr ramp up spending despite pandemic
By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:10 AM October 19, 2021
World Bank, Moody’s see PH growth at below-target 5.8% in 2019

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The amount spent by the national government on infrastructure during the first eight months of 2021 jumped 44.6 percent to P570.4 billion as big-ticket projects continued implementation despite prolonged quarantine.

The latest Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data on Monday showed end-August expenditures on infrastructure and other capital outlays climbed from P394.5 billion a year ago.

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If the infrastructure components of subsidies and equity injected into state-run corporations as well as transfers to local governments were included, total infra disbursements from January to August reached a bigger P717.6 billion, up 37.7 percent from P521 billion during the same eight-month period last year.

The economic team had programmed infrastructure spending, including payables from this year’s national budget plus previous years’ obligations, worth P1.02 trillion for 2021, equivalent to 5.1 percent of gross domestic product.

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Capital outlay

During the month of August alone, infrastructure and other capital outlay expenditures amounted to P70.9 billion, up 60.2 percent from a year ago’s P44.3 billion but 2.5-percent lower than the P72.8 billion spent in July.

In a report, the DBM attributed the year-on-year rise in infrastructure spending in August to various road and other public infrastructure projects implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); progress in the Bukidnon, Kalibo and Tacloban airport projects of the Department of Transportation (DOTr); projects under the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program; and rollout of the smart campuses program and other capital outlay projects in state universities and colleges.

The DBM also noted that the jump in infrastructure and other capital outlays during the first eight months accounted for the bulk or 60.2 percent of the P292.2-billion total increase in overall national government disbursements as of August.

Disbursements

“Infrastructure and other capital expenditures will continue to drive government disbursements for the remaining months as payables for completed and partially completed infrastructure activities become due and demandable, alongside the regular operating expenditures of various line departments,” the DBM said.

Infrastructure projects had been exempted from quarantine restrictions as long as they were built under minimum health standards to contain the spread of COVID-19 among construction workers.

The pandemic last year shrank overall infrastructure spending to P869.5 billion from a record P1.05 trillion in 2019, as the government prioritized health and socioeconomic response against COVID-19 such that billions of pesos were slashed from the 2020 budgets of the DPWH and the DOTr.

But President Duterte’s economic managers had said that sustained infrastructure development through the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program would help recover jobs shed by the pandemic-induced recession and rebound to long-term economic growth. INQ

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