Infra spending down 30.6%

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    The government’s expenditures for infrastructure and other capital outlays posted a 30.6 percent decline in October as implementation of projects were affected by delays, amid the country’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

    According to data posted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on its website yesterday, infrastructure spending amounted to P57.1 billion in October, down by P25.1 billion from the P82.2 billion recorded a year ago.

    “As noted earlier, the implementation of some government infrastructure projects has been hindered by various delays, especially during the imposition of community quarantine measures in the earlier part of the year to contain the further spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the DBM said.

    “Although an increase was recorded in the disbursements for capital outlay projects of the Department of National Defense under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program, it only tempered the decline in infrastructure spending of the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Transportation,” the DBM said.

    As of end-October, infrastructure spending amounted to P508.5 billion, posting a decline of 18.4 percent from the year ago level of P622.9 billion.

    “Infrastructure spending was lower year-on-year owing mainly to the delays encountered in the implementation of public works and the discontinuance of some projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the DBM said.

    The total disbursements of the national government however totaled to P3.31 trillion, surging by 12.7 percent from last year’s comparable period, then at P2.94 trillion.

    The DBM said spending grew mainly on account of higher maintenance spending and subsidy support to government corporations for the COVID-19 measures under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

    Allotment and capital transfers to local government units (LGUs) also increased as a result of the one-time COVID-19 Bayanihan grant to the provinces, cities and municipalities, higher internal revenue shares of LGUs and the releases for the annual block grant to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the DBM said.

    “With the fiscal year 2020 about to conclude… the implementation of the programs/measures under the Bayanihan II by the concerned implementing departments/agencies/corporations becomes more crucial to provide the much-needed government assistance to the public and other sectors greatly affected by the pandemic, restore public confidence, and aid in the country’s overall economic recovery,” the DBM said.