Gov’t agencies reminded of election ban on new projects
MANILA, Philippines—The interagency body regulating government procurement has reminded agencies of the forthcoming 45-day ban on new projects ahead of the May 2022 national elections.
In a resolution issued this month, the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) also told agencies that it will be up to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to approve applications for exemption from the election ban on procurement of goods and services related to COVID-19 response which may be needed between March 25 and May 8, 2022, coinciding with the campaign period.
A separate circular issued by GPPB chair and Budget Officer-in-Charge Tina Rose Marie Canda last Dec. 2 reminded agencies that “the election ban is not designed to paralyze the operations of the government, but to insulate government procurement from political partisan activities, usually in the form of new projects, which are designed to influence the public during the upcoming May 9, 2022 national and local elections.”
Beginning March 25, procuring entities can no longer issue notices of award to new housing-related, public works, and social projects.
In the case of infrastructure projects, exempted from the spending prohibition ahead of next year’s May 9 elections were emergency works in the aftermath of a natural calamity or disaster, maintenance of existing public works with no additional laborers, as well as contractual, preparatory and ongoing projects as long as started before the campaign period.
Comelec will also come out with a list of foreign-funded infrastructure projects whose implementation can continue despite the election ban, the GPPB said.
The Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) earlier flagged the upcoming ban on certain expenditures in line with the conduct of the 2022 national elections among the downside risks to the national government’s fiscal position next year.
“The prohibition on public works, as well as for social welfare dole-outs, may contribute to a slowdown on infrastructure disbursements during the first half of 2022,” the DBCC said in its Fiscal Risks Statement 2022 report early this month.
“Said risks may be mitigated by the proper and timely conduct of early procurement activities, which in turn entails the approval and effectivity of the pertinent funding sources (in effect, the GAA [general appropriations act or the proposed P5.02-trillion 2022 national budget], corporate budget [of state-run firms], appropriations ordinance, [and] loan agreements in foreign-assisted projects),” the DBCC said.
The DBCC had programmed to spend a record P1.27 trillion on infrastructure next year, equivalent to an also record-high 5.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
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