July 06, 2017 at 07:45 pm
Julito G. Rada
Public infrastructure spending surged 31 percent in May to P46.2 billion from P35.2 billion a year ago, with the construction of several infrastructure projects, data from the Budget Department show.
The May figure was also 38 percent higher than P33.5 billion registered in April 2017 and brought total disbursements for infrastructure and other capital outlays in the first five months to P197.2 billion, up 8 percent from P182.4 billion in the same period last year.
“Infrastructure and other capital expenditures rose strongly by P11 billion to end at P46.2 billion in May this year due to the completed road construction, repair and rehabilitation, and flood control infrastructures implemented by the DPWH [Public Works], as well as the requirements for the purchase of anti-submarine helicopters under the AFP Modernization Program of the Department of National Defense,” the Budget Department said.
Infrastructure spending and other capital outlays declined 21.2 percent in April to P33.5 billion from P42.5 billion a year ago.
The Bureau of the Treasury said the government incurred a budget deficit of P33.4 billion in May, after recording a surplus a month ago as spending outpaced revenue collections.
Government expenditures grew 20 percent in May to P261.7 billion and 6 percent in the first five months to P1.06 trillion.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Philippines was “fiscally secure” and the government was ready to fund its ambitious infrastructure program to sustain the growth momentum and significantly reduce poverty level.
“Even at this earlier stage in our reform effort, you can distinctly hear the tiger roar. We are on the path towards a modern, investment-led and trade-driven economy,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said from the time President Duterte took over in July 2016 to May 2017, revenue collections increased 7 percent to P2.09 trillion, in part because of the administrative reforms put in place in Internal Revenue and Customs.
He said the approval by Congress of the Duterte administration’s first tax reform package―the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act―would ensure a steady revenue flow for the government’s massive infrastructure buildup and guarantee a “breakout growth rate” of above 7 percent that would be sustained over the medium term.
He said this robust pace of growth would, in turn, enable the government to pull down the poverty rate from 21.6 percent to 14 percent by the time President Duterte leaves office in 2022, making the benefits of growth inclusive for all Filipinos.
“This is an important milestone signaling a strong possibility that this package may be enacted into law shortly after Congress resumes this July,” the finance chief said.