Government infra spending up 20% to P436 B in 2015

Prinz Magtulis - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Last year’s infrastructure spending by the Aquino administration turned out to be much lower than initially reported, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) clarified.

In a disbursement report released last week, the government said it spent P436 billion on capital outlays, 20.2 percent up year-on-year, but below the P546.7-billion target.

However, The STAR reported last month total spending reached P595.78 billion, accounting for about 4.5 percent of economic output. The target was four percent.

The revised figure was equivalent to 3.3 percent of gross domestic product.

“The P595 billion is adjusted from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) level. The P436 billion is the actual spending for 2015. Sorry if it wasn’t clear,” the DBM public information unit said in a text message.

When asked what does adjusted from the GAA means, the DBM office said it will seek clarification on the matter.

The STAR report last month was based on a breakdown of infrastructure spending per agency given by DBM upon request. It showed more than a third of funds of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) went for the construction of roads and bridges.

Specifically, the DPWH reportedly shelled out P210.87 billion for road projects last year, up 71.2 percent.

The Aquino government has been criticized for persistently falling below spending targets amid economic growth that slowed to 5.8 percent last year.

In its report last week, the DBM blamed the line agencies for falling 12.8-percent below its P2.559-trillion target last year. It shelled out only P2.231 trillion.

“Despite the remarkable year-on-year increase, disbursements still fell below program but a slower rate,” the agency said.

“Underspending however remained to be a challenge,” it added.


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