Nov. infrastructure spending, other capital outlays surge

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The government is banking on increased infrastructure spending to drive overall economic growth to a higher 7-8% level.

By Elijah J. C. Tubayan

NATIONAL GOVERNMENT disbursements on infrastructure and other capital outlays saw “solid numbers” in November, nearly reaching the full-year program.

In a statement on Thursday, the DBM said that spending on infrastructure and other capital outlays grew 43.6% year-on-year to P62.9-billion in November 2018 from P43.8 billion in the same month in 2017.

However, it was 33.3% lower than the P94.4 billion spent in October.

“Infrastructure and other capital outlays once again posted solid numbers as they hit P62.9 billion in November 2018 on the back of completed road infrastructure projects by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), repair and rehabilitation of school buildings and facilities of the Department of Education (DepEd) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and acquisition of medical equipment of the Department of Health (DoH),” the DBM said.

This brought January-November 2018 infrastructure and other capital outlays to P728.1 billion, up 49.7% from P486.5 billion in 2017’s comparable 11 months.

That was equivalent to 93.9% of the P775.369-billion programmed for 2018.

The government needs to have spent at least P47.269 billion on infrastructure and other capital outlays last month in order to hit the full-year target.

Latest infrastructure and other capital outlay data are also equivalent to 23.53% of the P3.095-trillion overall disbursements that period, which grew 24.1% year-on-year.

“We are optimistic about the full-year 2018 spending outturn. Public spending remains robust as we’ve managed to channel more resources to the government’s priorities,” Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno was quoted as saying.

The DBM said that the overall 2018 spending data will be released within the first quarter this year.

“We have an expansionary fiscal policy so we can upgrade our public infrastructure, as well as provide our people with quality and accessible healthcare, education, and poverty-reduction programs. With the pace of public spending, it is clear that the government is following through with its ambitious plans, especially ‘Build Build Build’,” said Mr. Diokno.

“The increase in infrastructure spending and additional capital outlay, as expected, is due to accelerated government spending brought about by the ‘Build, Build, Build’ projects by the government to hasten infrastructure facilities after the term of Pres[ident Rodrigo R.] Duterte,” Colegio de San Juan de Letran Graduate School Dean Emmanuel J. Lopez said in an e-mail when sought for comment.

“Although it may be inflationary in effect, the income and employment it will create can create economic growth in other areas of the economy,” Mr. Lopez added.