Government infrastructure spending in Q1 dips 2.6% to ₧190.2B

The Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, also known as Rockwell Bridge connecting the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong is shown in this file photo. The 506-meter bridge, which features a three-meter wide sidewalk, is among the P3.39-billion infrastructure projects in the country which are funded by China.

STATE infrastructure spending in the first quarter dipped by 2.6 percent year-on-year to P190.2 billion, largely due to the timing of payables for regular infrastructure projects.

Latest data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed government spending on infrastructure and other capital outlays from January to March this year was lower by P5 billion than the P195.2 billion recorded in the same period last year.

Apart from infrastructure spending, lower equity also tempered the growth in other expense items.

Spending on equity plunged by 98.9 percent to P0.5 billion from P45.3 billion in the first three months of the year due to the previous year’s completion of one-time equity infusion to government financial institutions for their credit assistance and lending programs under the Bayanihan 2 (Republic Act 11494) law.

Nonetheless, overall government spending picked up by 8.2 percent to P1.1 trillion as of end-March. This was due to higher allotment and capital transfers to local government units. Such were in line with the first year of the implementation of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas ruling and the annual block grant to Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Government spending was also driven by higher expenditures on personnel services, interest payments, maintenance spending and subsidy.

For March alone, government infrastructure spending rose by 14.2 percent to reach P100.2 billion compared to the P87.8-billion spending in the same month last year.

Infrastructure spending grew largely due to the payment for completed infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways nationwide, the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program and the Basic Education Facilities and payment for deliveries of Department of Education’s learning tools and equipment.

In March, overall government spending jumped by 18.1 percent year-on-year to P481.5 billion from P407.6 billion.

For April and May, the DBM said it expects disbursements to slow down following the 45-day election ban on certain public expenditures in line with May 2022 polls.

However, they also see normalization of spending towards the end of this month once the ban ends.

Among the expected drivers of government spending growth for the second quarter is the release of the mid-year bonus of government employees, expenditures incurred by the poll body for the conduct of the elections, payables for completed/partially-completed capital outlay projects and various educational assistance and social protection programs.

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