May sees infra, other capital outlays rise

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Calungbuyan Bridge

INFRASTRUCTURE and other capital outlays continued to surge in May, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Wednesday, backing projections that gross domestic product (GDP) growth caught up with the official target this quarter.

May saw P58.1 billion in state infrastructure and other capital outlays, 25.6% more than the past year’s P46.2 billion though 11.4% less than April’s P65.6 billion.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said in a media briefing that this was due to the “completed various infrastructure projects such as road concreting, widening, and improvement; construction of bypass or diversion roads and flood control bridges.”

“The repair and rehabilitation of school buildings of the Department of Education and acquisition of medical equipment and facilities under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the Department of Health also contributed to the rise in infrastructure spending.”

The five months to May saw infrastructure and other capital outlays total P280.8 billion, rising 42.4% from P197.2 billion a year ago and accounting for 36.22% of 2018’s P775.37-billion infrastructure and other capital outlays program.

“We are confident that we will hit our Q2 disbursement targets,” Mr. Diokno said.

“In fact, actual disbursements for the first quarter exceeded the program, so it’s justified to anticipate good results for the second quarter.”

Overall expenditures totaled P782 billion in the first quarter, exceeding the P755.8 billion target by three percent.

Mr. Diokno earlier this month said he expected second-quarter GDP growth at seven percent when it is reported on Aug. 9 — from the first quarter’s 6.8% — against the government’s 7-8% full-year 2018 target.

Wednesday saw First Metro Investment Corp. and the University of Asia and the Pacific share this projection on the back of infrastructure spending, manufacturing and new jobs that added to “positive consumer sentiment” to fuel economic activity. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan with K. A. N. Vidal