By Chino S. Leyco
The Duterte administration wants to make sure the two key implementors of the government’s infrastructure projects are on track in meeting the economic managers’ spending catch up plan that aims to counter the negative effects of the delayed 2019 national budget.
The technical working group (TWG) of the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) held a meeting yesterday at the Bureau of the Treasury’s headquarters to “monitor” if the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as well as of Transportation (DOTr) are prepared for the “catch up plan.”
National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon said the DBCC-TWG wanted to be assured that the national government’s monthly cash programming, particularly the revenues, is also aligned with the DPWH and DOTr’s spending plan for the second half of the year.
“We just want to make sure that our cash programming monthly can really catch up based on the commitment of DOTr and DPWH,” de Leon said in a phone interview. “Our bosses want everybody to catch up starting June.”
Last month, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III unveiled the Durterte administration’s catch up program aiming to fast-track implementation of infrastructure and socioeconomic programs for this year and to meet its growth targets.
Dominguez said both the DPWH and DOTr have expressed optimism of meeting their disbursement program for this year.
“To enable them to attain their targets, it would require close cooperation and support of other government agencies by expediting the approval of permits and other requirements,” Dominguez said, as he expressed hope that “no major weather disturbance will disrupt the implementation of the projects.”
The finance chief also vowed to double the government’s efforts in the agriculture sector, which should expand by at least 2.0 percent per year.
Dominguez said that if the 2019 national budget was approved on time, growth in the first quarter of the year would have risen between 6.6 percent and 7.2 percent instead of the four-year low of 5.6 percent.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed this year’s budget only last April after the impasse in Congress.
Dominguez said that since the government worked on a re-enacted budget in the first quarter, there was about P1 billion underspending per day.