To make up for the delays in the implementation and completion of key infrastructure and social projects this year, Senator Sonny Angara on Saturday urged all agencies to disburse and utilize their budgets for 2019 to achieve our growth target this year.
The call is in response to the Department of Budget and Management’s statement that almost 96 percent of the Php3.662 trillion national budget for 2019 has been released as of end-September.
The country’s economic managers have set a growth target of six to seven percent this year but because of the late budget approval and delays in project implementation there is a possibility that even the lower end of the target would be missed.
Angara’s call is for agencies of government to exert all effort to “provide the service that our people deserve” by catching up on spending even though there are just two months left in the year.
“It’s not just infrastructure but also on the delivery of social services that have faced delays. For the poor families, every bit of help they can get from the government means a lot to them and goes a long way to making ends meet. We should do everything to make sure our people don’t feel shortchanged by the government,” said Angara, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.
According to the Department of Finance, infrastructure spending has already reached 92 percent of the full-year target as of end-September while total disbursements has hit 98 percent of the target.
“It is encouraging to see that we are finally addressing the problem of underspending, which has plagued us since the previous administration. But we should always strive to hit our targets, especially when it comes to spending on infrastructure,” Angara said.
“Spending on infrastructure creates jobs and has a cascading effect across various industries, all of which spurs economic growth,” Angara added.
Growth slowed to 5.5 percent in the second quarter due to the delay in the enactment of the national budget but the economic managers are optimistic it will rebound to six percent in the third quarter.
“The agencies have to catch up on their spending so that we can hit our growth target. The reenactment of the budget was regrettable but as the data has shown, the targets set are still attainable so we must sustain the momentum,” Angara said. (senate.gov.ph)