Gov’t agencies use up 86% of budget in 8 months

Mary Grace Padin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — State agencies utilized 86 percent of their notices of cash allocation (NCA) in the first eight months to fund their programs and projects, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported.

According to latest data from the DBM, implementing agencies used up P1.81 trillion worth of NCAs from January to August, equivalent to 86 percent of the P2.12 trillion total NCAs released during the period.

This leaves about P304.83 billion worth of NCAs that have yet to be utilized until the end of the third quarter.

Year-on-year, the NCA utilization rate as of end-August was slower than the 91 percent recorded in the same period in 2017.

For the third quarter alone, the government has spent P465.58 billion as of August, representing 63.79 percent of the P729.87 billion so far issued during the quarter.

 NCAs are needed by agencies to claim their checks from the Bureau of the Treasury, which are then used to pay for public projects and services.

Once utilized, funds are deemed disbursed and are recorded on the government’s balance sheet.

Meanwhile, the DBM in a separate report said it has released about P3.5 trillion or 92.9 percent of the government’s P3.77 trillion budget for 2018.

This means about P269.14 billion of the national budget has yet to be given to state agencies this year.

Based on DBM data, special purpose funds accounted for P140.4 billion of the unreleased funds, while P124.27 billion are for agency-specific budgets.

Special purpose funds cover lump-sum allocations for special purposes, and require submission of budget requests duly supported by documentary requirements.

Earlier, the DBM said the remaining allotments are expected to be released in the coming months, consistent with the one-year-validity of appropriations in the 2018 General Appropriations Act.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno had expressed confidence the government would be able to sustain its spending momentum throughout 2018 and address underspending.

 “We are doing our best to fast-track the release and disbursement of funds for public programs and projects. We maintain our projection that underspending will be eliminated under our watch,” Diokno earlier said.

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