Government spending on infrastructure continued to grow year-on-year last November, but at a slower pace compared to the spending growth recorded in the previous month, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported yesterday.
According to the latest disbursement report of the DBM, spending for infrastructure and other capital outlays in November last year rose by 43.6 percent to P62.9 from the P43.8 billion recorded in the same month in 2017.
The DBM attributed this to the completion of various projects, including road projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways; repair and rehabilitation of school buildings and facilities of the Department of Education, and state universities and colleges; and acquisition of medical equipment of the Department of Health.
However, the pace of growth in infrastructure spending last November was slower than the 83.4 percent surge registered in October 2018. On a month-on-month basis, infrastructure expenditures declined 33.3 percent.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier said the government would need to slow down its disbursements in the last few months of 2018 as it was already spending above program as of end-September.
He said the government cannot spend higher than what Congress has authorized.
Nevertheless, the DBM said total infrastructure spending in the first 11 months of 2018 jumped by almost 50 percent to P728.1 billion from P486.5 billion in end-November 2017.
According to Diokno, infrastructure spending continued to be one of the main drivers of growth in government disbursements. As of end-November 2018, disbursements reached P3.095 trillion, 24.1 percent higher than P2.49 trillion in the same period in 2017.
“We have an expansionary fiscal policy so we can upgrade our public infrastructure, as well as provide our people with quality and accessible healthcare, education, and poverty-reduction programs,” Diokno said.
“With the pace of public spending, it is clear that the government is following through with its ambitious plans, especially Build Build Build,” he said.
Aside from infrastructure, the DBM also cited Personnel Services, which increased by 25.3 percent to P122.4 billion last November owing to the release of year-end bonuses; the creation and filling of positions in the Department of Education, Philippine National Police, and the Department of Health; and the release of pension, retirement, and gratuity benefits in various agencies.
From January to November 2018, spending on personnel services totaled P884.7 billion, up by 23.4 percent year-on-year, primarily due to higher salaries for both civilian government employees and military and uniformed personnel, alongside the faster rate of filling of positions by various line agencies.
Meanwhile, Diokno expressed optimism that the government would be able to show positive disbursement figures for full-year 2018.
“We are optimistic about the full-year 2018 spending outturn. Public spending remains robust as we’ve managed to channel more resources to the government’s priorities,” Diokno said.