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Gov’t infrastructure spending rebounds in May

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State spending on infrastructure can be expected to pick up toward next year after a four-month delay in enactment of the P3.662-trillion national budget for 2019 crimped government expenditures last semester,

STATE INFRASTRUCTURE spending recovered in May, according to a report the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released to media on Monday, citing in part projects of the Transport and the Public Works departments.

Data in the report showed that infrastructure and other capital expenditures increased by 5.9% to P61.5 billion in May from P58.1 billion a year ago, and recovered from April’s 56.9% contraction.

“The increase is credited to disbursements for foreign-assisted projects of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works and Highways, as well for capital outlay projects under the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program,” DBM’s report read.

But the impact of the four-month delay in enactment of the 2019 national budget, which was slashed by P95.3 billion to P3.662 trillion when President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed it on April 15, could still be seen in the year-to-date data showing that infrastructure and other capital outlays dropped by 4.6% to P267.9 billion as of May from P280.8 billion in last year’s first five months.

Citing “preliminary data on allotment releases as of the fourth week of June,” DBM said the P112.5-billion total funds released last month “included big-ticket releases” like some P25 billion for the National Irrigation Administration’s programs and projects, as well as P21.7 billion for pension adjustment under the Defense department and P16.3 billion for second-half police pension.