THE 2024 budget will likely be transmitted to the Office of the President by mid-December, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said.

On the sidelines of an event on Friday, Ms. Pangandaman told reporters that the budget bill will likely be submitted to the Office of the President between Dec. 15 and 20.

“The Senate has finished its committee hearings… hopefully they will transmit it after the (November) holidays. Then, when they resume session, we will have the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) plenary on Nov. 8,” she said.

The House of Representatives approved the 2024 budget bill on Sept. 27. It is currently being evaluated by the Senate.

Ms. Pangandaman also said she is hoping for an early signing, but deferred to Congress in carrying out its functions.

The P5.786-trillion national budget for next year is 9.5% higher than this year’s budget.

Ms. Pangandaman said that the DBCC will be meeting on Nov. 3 for its last review this year of the government’s medium-term macroeconomic assumptions.

She said increased consumption and spending due to the holiday season are expected to help drive growth.

“(On) our part, at least for the government sector, our figures have been improving since September. I hope that will contribute to our growth and the last quarter of the year; that’s when the agencies spend and our consumption increases because of the holidays,” she said.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by a weaker-than-expected 4.3% in the second quarter amid a 7.1% contraction in government spending.

The government is targeting 6-7% growth this year. The economy would need to expand by 6.6% in the second half in order to meet the lower end of the government target.

Third-quarter GDP data will be released on Nov. 9. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson