Pangandaman eyes bigger budget than P 5.268T for ’23
If government coffers could afford it, the Marcos Jr. administration is looking at a “slightly” bigger 2023 national budget—its first full-year spending plan —than the record P5.268-trillion cap set by President Duterte’s economic managers.
Also, incoming Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said in an interview last week that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under her watch will look closely into how local governments were spending their larger budget share with the implementation of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas-Garcia ruling in full swing.
Pangandaman said that during last week’s transition meeting, her marching orders included the DBM to do some number crunching to see if, despite the narrower fiscal space wrought by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, there would be elbow room to slightly increase the 2023 budget proposal to be pitched to the 19th Congress.
The 2023 ceiling approved by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) last month was only 4.9 percent higher than this year’s P5.02-trillion appropriations, which had increased 11.5 percent from last year’s P4.51 trillion.
Pangandaman noted that some of the DBM’s recent releases came from unprogrammed funds, mainly excess revenues partly from the bigger-than-projected taxes collected from expensive oil. The assistance given away by the Duterte administration to sectors most badly hit by high fuel prices were funded by these incremental revenues. But borrowings, which also fund unprogrammed appropriations, may have already been stretched for this year, Pangandaman said. Pangandaman said the next administration may hike its yearly national budgets “if we have extra revenues and our economy’s doing good until the end of the year and the coming years.”
The DBCC had projected annual appropriations to further rise by 5.5 percent to P5.56 trillion in 2024, and then 5 percent to P5.83 trillion in 2025. The Cabinet-level committee had also targeted higher tax and nontax revenues than previously expected for the years 2023 to 2025 on the back of the anticipated strong economic recovery and growth of 6 to 7 percent a year.
—Ben O. de Vera INQ
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