Gov’t posts 25.7% Y-O-Y growth in infra spending — Abad

MANILA, Dec. 16 (PNA) — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday reported that disbursements as of end-October for infrastructure and capital outlay (CO) rose by 25.7 percent or P42.5 billion year-on-year (yoy), as the Aquino administration now focuses on ramping up government spending to bring the economy to a strong finish by the end of the year.

The year-on-year increase in infrastructure disbursements — together with higher levels for other government expenditures — helped drive spending to P1.513 trillion for the first 10 months of the year, about 10.6 percent or P144.5 billion higher than the previous year’s level of P1.369 trillion.

According to DBM Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, disbursements in infrastructure and CO were buoyed by the settlement of accounts payable for public infrastructure projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), irrigation projects under the Department of Agriculture (DA), various transportation and communication infrastructure and equipment for the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and health facilities enhancement project of the Department of Health (DOH).

“We’re pleased to note that infrastructure disbursements continue their double-digit growth over the figures we posted in the same period last year. It’s a testament to the Aquino administration’s continuing efforts to drive public funds toward high-impact programs and projects, those that will go a long way in buttressing our economy and ensuring better service delivery to the public,” Abad said.

The DBM also reported releasing a total of P1.868 trillion or 93.1 percent of the P2.006-billion obligation program as of October 2013, 13.7 percent or P224.9 billion higher year-on-year.

Significant releases include those made to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the victims of Typhoon “Pablo”, as well as releases for pension payments and other benefits for retired/retiring government employees, and the creation and filling-up of new positions across various departments and agencies.

The DBM chief noted that despite the slowdown in disbursements, the department is confident that expenditures will pick up in the coming months, in view of intensified rehabilitation and reconstruction activities for “Yolanda”-stricken areas.

“The next few months will most likely be marked by energetic government spending, supported for the most part by reconstruction programs for Yolanda-hit communities. These programs and projects will be very quickly rolled out by the Aquino administration and local governments to all affected areas, so that the needs of Yolanda victims are met as swiftly as possible,” he said.

At the same time, Abad said, “the disbursements that support the implementation of these projects will allow the country’s economy to gain more steam, so that we’re in a better position to facilitate rapid, sustainable, and inclusive growth in the country.” (PNA)