State agencies pick up spending in January
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - February 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — State agencies picked up the pace of their spending in the first month of the year as they utilized more notices of cash allocation (NCA) during the period, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

According to latest data from the DBM, the national government utilized P145.58 billion worth of NCAs in January 2020, accounting for 74 percent of the P197.28 billion total notices released during the month.

DBM records showed this was higher as compared to the NCA utilization rate in January last year which settled at 60 percent.

NCA refers to the disbursement authority issued by the DBM to cover the cash requirements of the operations, programs and projects of government agencies.

A higher NCA utilization rate demonstrates the capacity of line agencies to quickly disburse their allocated funds and implement their programs and projects, DBM said.

In a text message to reporters, Budget Undersecretary Laura Pascua said NCA utilization accelerated as agencies were asked by the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) to settle their accounts payable from excess funds in their NCA releases.

Of the total NCA used in January, DBM said P90.41 billion was used up by key departments and agencies. This translated to a 66 percent NCA utilization rate for them.

About P28.17 million worth of NCAs were also utilized for the provision of budgetary support to government-owned and -controlled corporations, while another P55.13 billion was used for local government unit funds.

President Duterte signed the P4.1-trillion 2020 budget on Jan. 6, a delay of about one week, citing the need to review the General Appropriations Act (GAA) thoroughly.

Earlier, DBM said the 2020 GAA would be subject to proper documentation process, particularly budget items which were adjusted by Congress at the last minute of bicameral deliberations.

This will ensure that the adjusted funds will be used for projects that are implementation-ready, and in line with the priorities of the government.

Based on latest data from the BTr, the national government’s total disbursements last November accelerated by 22.4 percent to P365.6 billion from P298.8 billion in the same month of 2018.

This brought total expenditures in the first 11 months of 2019 to P3.3 trillion, 6.7 percent higher than P3.1 trillion in the same period of the previous year.

The BTr is set to release the full-year fiscal figures for 2019 today.

The DBM, in an earlier statement, said the government is optimistic of achieving its P3.76-trillion spending target for 2019 as line agencies hastened the implementation of their programs and projects.

“Preliminary data indicates that disbursements for December 2019 likely grew by around 50 percent year-on-year, and that full year disbursements could likely rebound by double digits,” DBM said.

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