Philippines: Infrastructure spending surges 54% in Sep 19

  • Public spending on infrastructure surged by 54% in Sep 19 as state agencies fast-tracked the implementation of projects as part of their spending catch-up measures, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported on 1 Nov 19.
  • Based on the latest disbursement performance report of the DBM, infrastructure spending and other capital outlays amounted to PHP100.3bn in Sep 19, 53.9% or PHP35.1bn higher than the PHP65.2bn recorded in Sep 18.
  • This has been the fastest pace of growth for infrastructure spending in the first nine months, following a lag in 1H19 due to the delay in the passage of the 2019 budget and the election ban on public works.
  • According to the DBM, the strong growth in infrastructure disbursements came after the full and partial implementation of projects by the Department of Public Works and Highways, such as the construction, upgrading, repair and rehabilitation of roads, bridges and flood control structures.
  • The agency also attributed this to the purchase of new military equipment under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program of the Department of National Defense, and the construction of the new Supreme Court building.
  • However, DBM data also showed that while monthly infrastructure expenditures rose, year-to-date infrastructure spending was still 8.1% lower compared to the PHP594.5bn target, reaching PHP546.3bn as of end-Sep 19. This is likewise 4.3% lower than the PHP570.8bn posted in the same nine-month period in 2018.
  • Including equity and capital transfer to local government units, the DBM said total capital outlays for Sep 19 jumped by 57.2% to PHP122.6bn from PHP78bn in Sep 18.
  • This brought cumulative capital outlays for the nine-month period to PHP661bn, 8.6% below the PHP723.5bn program.
  • On a year-to-date basis, the national government’s disbursement amounted to PHP2.63tr as of end-Sep 19, which is 5.5% up from 2018, but 2.1% short of program.
  • The DBM said this indicates that “the government has broken through the effects of the delayed passage of the fiscal year 2019 national budget and the election ban on infrastructure spending, which weighed down on economic growth during 1H19.”
  • “Following this latest development, the DBM is optimistic that the national government will be able to meet its catch-up spending program before the end of 2019 in support of the administration’s growth targets,” it added. The government has a spending program of PHP3.77tr for full-year 2019.

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