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DBM exec sees below target ’11 deficit

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An official of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said initial estimates on the 2011 budget gap is seen to be below the P300 billion ceiling for the year amid efforts to speed-up spending.

Budget Undersecretary Laura Pascua said preliminary figures points to a budget deficit of about P140-170 billion.

“The estimate for 2011 deficit as of December is around P140-170 billion. (It is) below the P300 billion ceiling (because) as you know there has been underspending in the first three quarters,” she told reporters Wednesday.

Pascua, on the other hand, declined to give the December 2011 deficit figure saying this is still being finalized.

“It probably had increased from November because we’ve been trying to increase spending,” she said.

The DBM official said the government is firm on further boosting the economy through higher expenditure.

“We're under orders to speed up spending for 2012 so we're trying to monitor spending every month for every department, instead of per quarter,” she added.

Deficit for 2011 accounts for 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) while its proportion to GDP for 2012 is 2.6 percent.

As of last November, the budget gap reached P96.25 billion, about 32.08 percent of 2011’s P300 billion ceiling and 64.33 percent lower than year-ago’s P269.82 billion.

For last November alone, higher expenditures posted higher expansion against revenues resulting to the 4.665 percent jump in deficit to P22 billion, a reversal from the P482 million same period in 2010.

President Benigno Aquino III approved last October 12 a P72.1 billion Disbursement Acceleration Plan (DAP) to boost spending and provide the necessary fund for the government’s priority programs.

The DAP budget was augmented by P13.4 billion from pooled savings from last year’s General Appropriations Act (GAA).

As of end-December last year, cash releases of the original DAP totalled to P58 billion while actual disbursement reached P53.8 billion.

For the additional DAP budget, allotment releases reached P11 billion as of December 29, 2011 and P7.6 billion or 68 percent of which refers to actual disbursements.

By PNA/PIA9-ZBST





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