Infra spending down 40% in Sept

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    The government’s infrastructure expenses and other capital expenditures contracted by 39.9 percent in September, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said, amid the discontinuance of some projects and construction delays due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the related quarantine measures.

    According to data posted in the DBM website yesterday, infrastructure spending for the month amounted to P56.9 billion, P37.8 billion lower than the P94.7 billion spent in the same period last year.

    “It is noted that infrastructure spending is expected to be lower with the discontinuance of some capital outlay projects which are unlikely to be completed nor implemented this year due to the pandemic, as well as the delays in construction activities in the earlier part of the year with the imposition of various community quarantine measures and implementation of COVID-19 health and safety protocols,” the DBM said.

    The DBM said the September figure also compares to the huge infrastructure disbursements in the previous year, with the catch-up spending plan of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) amid the delayed passage of the 2019 budget.

    Year-to-date, spending for infrastructure and other capital outlays declined from last year’s outturn by 16.5 percent to P451.5 billion, from P540.7 billion a year ago.

    The DBM attributed this to the lower program and delays encountered in the implementation of public works due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Meanwhile, the DBM said infrastructure outlays is expected to be relatively higher in the latter months compared with the earlier part of the year, as bulk of the submission of progress billings from contractors and suppliers are made.

    “More so that the DPWH continues to accelerate disbursements, especially for those completed and ongoing projects for completion within the year,” the DBM said.

    It added that disbursements will likewise be driven by the implementation of recovery measures under the Bayanihan II Law. — Angela Celis