Intellasia East Asia News – DBM: government infrastructure spending declines 16pct in February

Infrastructure spending declined in the first two months and is expected to remain muted for the rest of the first semester due to the election spending ban.

According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), infrastructure expenditure declined by more than 16 percent to P90 billion as of end-February from P107.4 billion a year ago.

The DBM attributed the drop to the schedule of payables to some of the projects delivered given that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has enforced an election spending ban.

Projects with payables to be delivered in the latter part of the year include the farm infrastructure of the Department of Agriculture and road constructions of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Also, payments for infrastructure projects will be made for the rail buildups of the Department of Transportation and for the Revised AFP Modernisation Programme of the Department of National Defense.

The DBM expects spending to pick up in March when state agencies are mandated to use up all of their cash allocations, but afterward anticipates a spending slowdown due to the 45-day election ban.

“Spending is likely to improve in March as line agencies are expected to utilise their remaining cash allocations that have been fully credited during the quarter, since the same will lapse on the last working day of the month,” the DBM said.

“However, for the second quarter of the year, the prohibition on public spending for infrastructure and other projects as mandated by Omnibus Election Code might temporarily affect the implementation of some programmes and projects, and hence could likely result in muted disbursements during the 45-day election ban period,” it said.

The Comelec approved a few exemptions to the public spending ban, including the rollout of stimulus measures, such as the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers of the Department of Labour and Employment.

The poll body also authorised the sustained enforcement of regular social protection programmes like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Programme, as well as the COVID vaccination drive and the fuel subsidy delivery of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

Infrastructure spending increased by 31 percent to P895.1 billion in 2021 from P681.5 billion in 2020, beating the government’s programme of P761.2 billion forthe year.


Category: Philippines

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