Government steps up spending in April

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
Government steps up spending in April
Notices of cash allocation (NCAs) increased by seven percent to P1.4 trillion as of end-April from P1.3 trillion a year ago.
Businessworld / File

MANILA, Philippines — The government increased its releases of cash allocations and state agencies were able to improve their spending rate as of April, latest data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed.

Notices of cash allocation (NCAs) increased by seven percent to P1.4 trillion as of end-April from P1.3 trillion a year ago.

Even with the increase, government agencies recorded a higher utilization rate of 93 percent from the 90 percent recorded in the four-month period in 2023.

This means that of the total releases, only P95.59 billion was unused as of end-April.

NCAs are disbursement orders by the DBM to government banks servicing the release of funds to agencies. State agencies are expected to use the NCAs to pay for the cash requirements of their programs and projects.

A higher utilization ratio indicates greater capacity of agencies to implement their programs and projects.

More than 70 percent of NCA releases were secured by line departments at P1.01 trillion. The remaining P392.68 billion was directed to other agencies, especially state-run firms and local government units (LGUs).

By sector, other agencies managed to almost use up the entire allocation for them to cover the internal revenue allotment, special shares and other transfers for LGUs.

Line departments, on the other hand, registered a better utilization rate of 91 percent or P911 billion for the NCAs they received as of end-April. In the same period last year, the spending rate was 86 percent.

By departments, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Education (DepEd) obtained the highest NCAs worth P257.14 billion and P193.52 billion, respectively, in the four-month period.

Data showed that DPWH’s utilization rate significantly improved to 92 percent from just 83 percent last year while DepEd also posted a higher spending rate of 95 percent.

As of end-April, however, no agency recorded a 100 percent utilization rate. The Department of Foreign Affairs was the closest at 99 percent.

Other agencies that recorded above 90 percent utilization rate as of April include the Departments of Finance, Health, Human Settlements and Urban Development, Interior and Local Government, Justice, National Defense and Tourism and the National Economic and Development Authority.

Also included are the Commission on Audit, Commission on Human Rights as well as state universities and colleges.

Meanwhile, the Department of Migrant Workers still registered the worst utilization rate as of April at only 51 percent of its NCAs totaling P2.2 billion out of the P4.33 billion allocation.

The Commission on Elections came in second with a utilization rate of 59 percent at P4.8 billion out of P8.17 billion, while the DBM came in third with a spending rate of 60 percent.

Last year, the DBM released a record P4.45 trillion worth of NCAs as the government expedited programs and projects that could help the country recover from the pandemic.

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