Tuesday, March 27, 2012

News Update Gov't plans to release bulk of this year's budget in H1

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration is eyeing to release bulk of this year’s budget in the first half of the year as part of efforts to boost spending.
Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said the releases in the first half of the year would significantly be higher than releases in the second semester. This, he said, would help agencies take advantage of the good weather to roll out infrastructure projects.
“In contrast to our previous year’s performance, we’re determined to make the bulk of our releases within the first semester of this fiscal year. This way, government agencies can take advantage of the good weather in the coming months for rolling out their projects, ahead of the opening of classes and the rainy season,” Abad said.
The Department of Budget and Management said yesterday it has released 91.3 percent of this year’s budget for state agencies as of end-February as part of efforts to make up for the problem of underspending last year.
Data from the Budget department showed that the government has so far released P793 billion out of the P869 billion earmarked for agency expenditures.
Abad said the releases would enable all government departments and agencies to implement key projects and programs possibly ahead of their respective schedules for the year.
Under the budget set for various departments, releases for personal services have reached P425 billion of its P426.1 billion allocation.
Funds under this item will go to salaries, allowances, and other personnel benefits, including pensions.
The Aquino administration has also released P217 billion or 92.5 percent of the P234.4 billion set for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE).
For capital outlay, the Budget department has already released 72.5 percent or P151 billion of the programmed P208.3 billion.
According to the Budget department, fund releases under the 2012 General Appropriations Act (GAA) would accelerate further pending the release of department balances, particularly to the Department of Health (P20.3 billion), Department of Transportation and Communications (P12.2 billion), Department of Agriculture (P10.3 billion), Department of Education (P9 billion), and Department of Public Works and Highways (P7.9 billion).
At the same time, Abad said the government is also careful with its releases to ensure that standards for accountability and transparency are upheld.
“As much as we want to fast-track spending, we need to balance this out with agency due diligence and compliance, especially with respect to our standards for accountability and transparency,” Abad said.
Of the total budget of P1.8-trillion for 2012 program, the government has so far released 61 percent or P1.108 trillion. - By Iris C. Gonzales