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Gov’t to increase Q2 ’11 spending

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Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad vows to increase spending in the second quarter this year following the below-target expenditures in the first three months of 2011.

"I don’t mind breaching our expenditure program for the second quarter since we underspent significantly in the first,” he said.

The government has set a P407 billion expenditure program for April to June this year.

From January to March this year, the government spent P349.3 billion, P82 billion lower than the P431.3 billion set for the quarter and 12.68 percent lower than year-ago’s P400 billion spending level.

Abad, however, indicated the possibility of another below-than-target spending for April because of delays in the project implementation along with lower borrowing cost.

“I won’t be surprised if spending was much lower than programmed,” he noted.

Abad, on the other hand, pointed out that non-achievement of the spending target came positively with the improvement in revenue collection and resulted in lower budget deficit.

In the first quarter this year, the budget gap amounted to P26.2 billion, P85.8 billion lower than the P112 billion ceiling set for the three-month period and 80.48 percent lower than year-ago’s P134.2 billion.

Earlier, Abad said they are now checking the reason for the “cautious spending” implemented by government agencies in the first quarter this year citing that disbursements during the period is 19 percent lower than target amid the frontloading of budget.

He said 51 percent of this year’s P1.645 trillion obligation program has been released as of end-March but the agencies’ utilization of Notices of Cash Allocation (NCAs) during the period amounted to P211.3 billion, or only 82.1 percent of the P257.2 billion issued.

“So far, indications point to more caution exercised by agencies in planning and spending funds allotted to them. Agencies also had to review their cost assumptions so that programs and projects they will implement reflect more realistic costs,” he added.

By Joann Santiago -PNA




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