Govt spends bigger on infra, capital outlays in April


The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported on Thursday that state infrastructure and capital outlays expanded in April as a result of countrywide public works projects.


In the fourth month of 2021, expenditures increased by 45 percent to P58.2 billion, up from P40.1 billion the previous year, according to the DBM’s latest disbursement report. It declined 33.7 percent from the previous month’s P87.8 billion.


“Infrastructure spending was bolstered largely by the implementation of various infrastructure projects of the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) nationwide …,” the Budget department underscored.


Among the projects mentioned are the construction and rehabilitation of access, by-pass, and diversion roads, as well as bridges; flood mitigation activities such as slope/river bank protection and dredging works; design and construction of off-site modular hospitals, as well as the construction of linear parks and other government administrative buildings.


Disbursements inched up by 29.1 percent to P253.4 billion in the first four months of 2021, compared to P196.2 billion a year earlier.


This was “propelled by the payments made for completed and partially completed infrastructure projects of the DPWH, and mobilization costs of ongoing construction activities mainly for its road infrastructure program,” the DBM said.


Payments related to the Department of Transportation’s foreign-assisted projects, such as the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1 and the North-South Commuter Railway Project, also contributed to the period’s overall infrastructure and other capital outlays, it added.


Infrastructure and capital expenditure pushed overall state spending to P1.35 trillion from January-April, including maintenance, personnel services, and subsidies. This was an improvement of 3.3 percent, or P43.4 billion, over the previous year’s figure.


The Budget Department said the issuance of P124.3 billion in allotments in May may push government expenditures even wider.


“Preliminary data for the month of May 2021 indicate that spending likely exceeded the growth rate posted for the same month last year.”


The strong performance is attributed to the DPWH’s massive infrastructure expenditures, as well as disbursements for the Departments of Education, Health, and Interior and Local Government flagship programs; transfers to local governments; and releases to government-owned and -controlled corporations.


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