Government infrastructure spending up 25% to P48.4B in July


MANILA, Philippines – Following a jump in recent months , the government's spending on infrastructure accelerated further in July.
Public spending on infrastructure was up 25% to P48.4 billion, P9.7 billion higher than the P38.7 billion spent in the same month a year ago, according to data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
July's result means government spending on infrastructure and other capital expenditures stands at P297.5 billion so far this year, up 11.1% compared to the same time last year.
The DBM attributed July's expenditure growth to the implementation of flood control, road improvement, and road widening projects, as well as the acquisition of naval and air defense assets under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.
Beyond these, the purchase of equipment and other infrastructure outlays under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, and payments for transport infrastructure projects such as the right-of-way acquisition for the Southwest Integrated Transport System (ITS)  project and completed civil works for the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT2) East Extension project also bolstered spending.
Maintenance and other operating expenses in July reached P38.3 billion, 41.1% higher than the level in the same month last year. As of end-July, maintenance expenses posted a growth of 6.4% to P246.6 billion.
Most of the maintenance spending went to social services such as assistance to victims of disasters, conditional cash transfers, and feeding programs; procurement of drugs, medicines and vaccines, and medical assistance programs; and the operating requirements of public schools nationwide. 
Total government spending in July grew by 11% to P245.1 billion, while total spending for the 7-month period hit P1.57 trillion, P133.8 billion or 9.3% more than the same period last year.
More spending planned
Government spending, which was sluggish at the start of the year, accelerated in the 2nd quarter, providing a welcome boost to the country's overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth .
The DBM noted that the remaining program balance still available for release for the rest of the year amounts to P452.9 billion or 13.5% of the P3.35 trillion it planned to spend in 2017.
This is comprised largely of around P226 billion in agency-specific funds and P242.4 billion in Special Purpose Funds.
"Line agencies still have around 5 more months to expend these allotments which could further increase disbursement levels," said the DBM.  – Rappler.com

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