THE National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the planned reorganization to elevate it into a department-level agency is expected to give it equal footing with other departments and streamline the budget and economic planning processes.

“The reorganization of NEDA into the Department of Economy, Planning, and Development or DEPDEV would strengthen NEDA’s mandate and give the agency equal footing with other Executive departments, thereby reinforcing such linkages,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told the House Joint Committee on Government Reorganization and Economic Affairs on Wednesday.

“Proper planning can only go so far if it is not seamlessly linked with other equally essential steps in the cycle. These steps include budgeting, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, which feed back into the planning exercise,” Mr. Balisacan told the panel.

The joint committee has yet to consolidate nine House measures seeking to reorganize NEDA.

The proposed law seeks to strengthen and fine-tune the powers and functions of NEDA to implement national development policies, streamline its master plans, and ensure that the country meets its development goals.

The proposed department will be tasked with creating a medium-term national evaluation agenda and evaluate the government’s programs and projects.

It would also be tasked to implement a capacity-building program for national and regional government agencies as well as local government units.

Presidential Decree No. 107 signed in 1973 established NEDA as an independent cabinet-level agency and as the country’s main socioeconomic planning body. The President chairs the NEDA board, with the NEDA Secretary as vice-chairman. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz