Infra spending up 45% on projects frenzy

STATE infrastructure spending surged by 45 percent in April this year compared to last year as the government continued implementing infrastructure projects.

Government spending on infrastructure and capital outlays rose to P58.2 billion from P40.1 billion in April last year, latest data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed.

The DBM attributed the “strong” double-digit growth in infrastructure spending to the continued rollout of projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), such as the construction and rehabilitation of access, by-pass and diversion roads, bridges; flood mitigation activities, such as slope/river bank protection and dredging works; design and build of off-site modular hospitals, and construction of linear parks and other government administrative buildings.

“It is noteworthy that infrastructure and capital outlays grew by P18.0 billion or 45.0 percent to reach P58.2 billion, which helped minimize the contraction of the total disbursements for the month,” the DBM said.

Overall government spending in April this year dropped by 27.1 percent to P336.3 billion from P461.7 billion in the same month last year at a time when the government had “huge” expenditures under Bayanihan 1 to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

State infrastructure spending for the first four months of this year also climbed by 29.1 percent to P253.4 billion from last year’s P196.2 billion.

“Infrastructure spending, which grew to P253.4 billion or 29.1 percent y-o-y, 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 explained.

On top of this, the government also made payments related to   foreign-assisted projects of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), such as the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1 and North-South Commuter Railway Projects, which contributed to higher infrastructure spending for the period.

Meanwhile, total government spending from January to April this year went up by 3.3 percent to P1.35 trillion from P1.31 trillion last year.

Moving forward, the DBM said it sees a further pickup in government spending, particularly for the month of May.

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

This strong performance is credited to the large infrastructure expenditures of the DPWH, disbursements for the banner programs of the DepEd (Department of Education), DOH (Department of Health), and DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), as well as transfers to LGUs (local government units) and releases to GOCCs (government-owned and -controlled corporations).

For this year, the government has programmed to spend P1.019 trillion for infrastructure. This is equivalent to 5.1 percent of the country’s GDP.

Last year, it spent P869.5 billion for infrastructure, which was equivalent to 4.8 percent of the country’s GDP.

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