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Gov’t may cut overseas borrowings

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The Department of Finance (DOF) said the national government may lower its offshore borrowing program for this year following the delayed approval of the general appropriations act (GAA).

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Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the government may not hit its spending program for the year as the Duterte administration continues to operate under a re-enacted budget.

For this reason, Dominguez said the national government may also require less borrowing from overseas for 2019.

“It’s really quite unfortunate that we had this delay in the approval of the budget,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Thailand.

But finance chief said the planned sale of yuan-denominated debt in China in the third week of April and yen bonds in the second half of the year will proceed “but the numbers are going to be modified.”

Dominguez added that the country’s first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth may also not likely match the revised 6.3 percent expansion in October to December last year.

“I’m not very hopeful. I think it will still be over 6 (percent), but not much,” Dominguez said.
Without an approved budget, the government is barred from funding new infrastructure projects.

The Duterte administration spent P43.7 billion less than planned in January and February.

“In two months, we didn’t spend close to a billion U.S. dollars,” Dominguez said. “That could have been spent on more infrastructure, more people hired for construction work. That’s going to hurt us a bit.”
The Philippines will report first-quarter growth on May 9. (Bloomberg)

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