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MANILA, Philippines – Amid criticism that the administration needs to quicken its spending pace, the budget department announced on Wednesday, January 11, that nearly a hundred percent or P1.626 trillion of the P1.645-trillion 2011 General Appropriations Act (GAA) has already been released as of 31 December 2011.
Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said this is a clear year-on-year improvement over the 96.1% rate for the 2010 budget.
“Since the Aquino administration set the Disbursement Acceleration Plan (DAP) in motion, we’ve seen a significant increase in releases for various departments and government agencies,” Abad said.
He added, “While the releases exceeded the original target, they were nonetheless amply supported by government savings from interest payments and additional dividends from government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs),” Abad said.
Savings, unprogrammed fund releases
He noted that under Automatic Appropriations, the Administration has successfully retained P105.5 billion in interest-payment savings as of 30 November 2011.
The savings come from lowered debt volume—translating to decreased borrowing—as well as favorable foreign exchange rates and a decrease in the number of treasury bonds issued last year.
Meanwhile, additional releases under Automatic Appropriations came up to P42.5 billion.
As of year-end, the DBM has released a total of P107.3 billion outside the programmed 2011 GAA. Of this amount, P44.6 billion was culled from Continuing Appropriations of fiscal year 2010.
Unprogrammed fund releases—including those that supported loans relent to GOCCs and new foreign-assisted projects, as well as infrastructure projects and social service programs—amounted to P20.2 billion. Of this amount, P18.5 billion was funded by additional GOCC dividends collected in January 2010.
The Aquino administration has been criticized in recent months for not spending enough to stimulate the economy.
Due to underspending, the economy grew only by 3.6% in the first 9 months of 2011, bringing doubts to the administration’s ability to meet the economic growth target of 5% to 6%.
“The Aquino administration is now aiming for the swift execution of the 2012 budget, so that all government agencies and departments can roll out key projects and initiatives faster,” Abad said.
“We will soon issue a more detailed report on obligations and total disbursements under the 2011 GAA, in line with our drive for transparency and accountability in the management of public funds,” he added.
Abad announced earlier that the administration has begun implementing P141.8-billion in infrastructure projects starting on the first working day of 2012. – Rappler.com