Govt spending for infra, capital outlay increase in March

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The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said state infrastructure and capital outlays surged in March as a result of nationwide public works projects.

According to the DBM’s latest distribution report, expenditures increased by 41.1 percent to P87.8 billion in the third month of 2021, up from P62.2 billion a year ago and 56.4 percent higher than February’s P56.1 billion.

“This was largely propelled by the payment for completed and partially completed infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) nationwide such as construction, repair and rehabilitation of access, by-pass, and diversion roads, bridges, and flood mitigation structures and drainage systems,” the Budget department noted.

Disbursements picked up by 25.1 percent to P195.2 billion in the first quarter of this year, compared to P156.1 billion in the same period last year.

“Although the growth in infrastructure and other capital outlays may be partly due to base effects, the increase in infrastructure disbursements for the first quarter of this year of P39.1 billion was enough to completely offset the P22.1 billion reduction recorded in the first quarter of last year.”

“It also recovered from the negative growth recorded in the preceding two quarters of 33.0 percent in the third quarter and 32.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020,” the DBM also stressed.

Infrastructure and capital spending surged to P1.01 trillion in January-March, including maintenance, personnel services, and subsidies, bringing total state spending to P1.01 trillion for the period. This is an uptick of 19.9 percent, or P168.7 billion, over the previous year’s total.

“Disbursements for the second quarter are still expected to be mostly driven by Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) related expenditures, specifically with the release of allotments for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine, and the financial assistance to NCR Plus due to the ECQ (enhance community quarantine),” the Budget department said in an outlook.

NCR Plus covers the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite.

BY MEYNARD DELA CERNA

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