Disbursements pick up at double-digit rate

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    Government disbursements have been picking up amid its catch-up spending plan, with a double-digit growth seen for September while a strong expenditure performance was also noted in the first week of October, according to Rosalia de Leon, national treasurer.

    “We’re watching the disbursements and it’s really been picking up for the past two months.

    So even for October, in the first week, we’ve seen very high disbursements,” de Leon told reporters in an interview at the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) in Manila yesterday.

    De Leon said disbursements posted a double-digit increase in September, while a two-digit growth was also seen in the first week of October.

    “If this trend continues, then we see that, slowly, the deficit levels would also be directed towards the target of 3.2 percent (of gross domestic product) and…the revenues is also picking up so that’s also compensating for the higher disbursements that we’re seeing,” she said.

    According to the latest BTr data, disbursements totaled P282.2 billion in August, growing by 8.78 percent or P22.8 billion from the P259.5 billion outturn in 2018.

    The agency said this marks the second highest growth achieved for the year next to February 2019, as expenditures were buoyed by higher subsidies to government-owned and controlled corporations and allotment to local government units.

    The performance for the month drove the cumulative expenditures from January to August to P2.2 trillion, beating last year’s spending by 0.94 percent or P20.7 billion.

    Also, expenditures in August, net of interest payments, went up 13.61 percent to P262.2 billion, the highest growth since the 2019 General Appropriations Act was enacted in April, the BTr said.

    This signals that disbursements may have started to pick up, it added. Year-to-date primary expenditures grew by 0.44 percent or P8.7 billion over last year at P1.961 trillion.

    The Department of Finance previously said a strong fiscal position coupled with efficient implementation of the catch-up spending program, among others, will boost economic growth in the last quarter of the year.

    “We’re watching where the disbursements are coming from, for the infrastructure, according to the Department of Budget and Management, so that would also be able to pull up growth for the fourth quarter. For the first week of October, we have to validate where it is coming from, it might be from the usual lump sum, IRA (internal revenue allotment),” de Leon said.

    “We’re coming from a very strong cash position, so if ever, even the disbursement picks up… we can manage the cash position even if disbursements would really significantly pick up,” she also said.

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