By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan,

DBM hoping for 2018 budget approval by October

Posted on July 06, 2017

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is optimistic budget legislation for 2018 will be passed by October, alongside the tax reform program.

File photo of Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno speaking at the BusinessWorld Economic Forum on May 19, 2017. Bernard Testa/InterAksyon
As the DBM is planning to submit the 2018 general appropriations act right after President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SoNA) on July 24, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said that it can hurdle both houses of Congress by October.

“October, it can be done. Usually... the President has 30 days after the SoNA (for the budget to be submitted) but now, it is on the day itself. I reformed the timeline,” he said.

If the budget is passed early, Mr. Diokno said procurement can proceed, aiding in the immediate rollout of government projects.

“We can plan earlier and proceed with project bidding... so that by Jan. 1 the budget can be signed. That way we can see faster spending,” he said.

The President and his Cabinet approved on Monday the proposed P3.767-trillion 2018 budget, which is about 12.4% more than the one for 2017.

However this is lower than the initially planned P3.84 trillion, due to lower-than-expected expected revenue from the watered-down tax reform program, which has been approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading.

House Bill No. 5636 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion expects to generate P133.6 billion in additional revenue for 2018, 35% less than the estimated P206.8 billion contained in the Department of Finance’s original proposal.

Mr. Diokno’s optimism is backed by the President’s certification of tax reform as an urgent measure.

The proposed 2018 national budget is equivalent to 21.6% of gross domestic product (GDP), with 29.4% of the proposed budget for next year allocated to “personnel services,” the Palace said, while “infrastructure and capital outlays” will receive 25.4%.

The 2018 budget assumes P2.841 trillion in government revenue, equivalent to 16.3% of GDP and 17% more than the P2.427 trillion assumed in 2017, which was equivalent to 15.2% of GDP.

Disbursements meanwhile will increase by some 15.6% to P3.364 trillion, equivalent to 19.3% of GDP, against 2017’s P2.909 trillion, equivalent to 18.3% of GDP.

Of the disbursements, infrastructure spending is programmed to rise by 54.47% to P752.9 billion, equivalent to 4.3% of GDP, from this year’s planned P487.4 billion, or 3.1% of GDP.