[PHOTO - Hon. Florencio B. Abad is the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management. He is also a former Representative of the Lone District to the 8th (1987-1990), 10th, 11th, and 12 Philippine Congress (1995-2004) and was appointed Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (January 4, 1990 – April 5, 1990) and Department of Education (July 2004 – July 2005). PHOTO from]

MANILA, MARCH 25, 2012 (MANILA TIMES) Written by : KATRINA MENNEN A. VALDEZ REPORTER - The Aquino administration was able to frontload its spending in January with infrastructure projects in place amid the dry season.

In a statement, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said Friday that the government’s expenditure performance during the first month of the year rose to P142.3 billion, 16.2 percent higher than the P122.5 billion spent during the same period in 2011.

“The current expenditure rate runs counter to the previous years’ trends, where January spending usually registers at a much slower pace. While our year-on-year performance is stronger, we are actively pushing for more vigorous spending in the coming months,” Abad said.

However, Abad said the sustainability of the improved spending would still be contingent upon the performance of the government’s main revenue generating agencies such as the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and Customs.

The BIR’s revenue collections during the said month was shy by 2.13 billion from its P87.28 billion, while the BOC raised P22 billion, P3.772 billion short of its goal.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, on the other hand, said that fiscal revenues will keep up with the government’s higher spending requirement this year. For the year, the government’s General Appropriations Act stands at P1.816 trillion.

The Budget and Management chief said the increased spending on maintenance and other operating expenditures (MOOE) and on infrastructure contributed to the government’s expenditure performance.

MOOE spending posted a year-on-year increase of 21.9 percent or P3.6 billion, while infrastructure spending rose by 7.2 percent or P11.5 billion.

Such increased is largely attributed to the comprehensive release of cash requirements of departments and agencies for key programs and projects, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and the Department of Education’s Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education, among others.

Meanwhile, Abad said the increase in the infrastructure spending, also referred to as capital outlay was supported by the early releases for various infrastructure-oriented items, including irrigation facilities under the Irrigation Development Plan and post-harvest facilities under the Department of Agriculture’s Food Staples Self-Sufficiency Plan.

Abad said that overall spending in January increased was likewise drove up by the spike in interest payments by 40.3 percent. Expenditures on net of interest payments, on the other hand, reached P92 billion, an increased by 6.2 percent.

He said that the improvement in IPs by P14.8 billion or 40.3 percent in January was caused by higher outstanding treasury bonds as of December 2011 year-on-year, for which interest expense payments matured in January.

The increase in non-interest expenses was tempered by the 97.2-percent decline in tax subsidies, the 60.7-percent decline in subsidies to government-owned or –controlled corporations (GOCCs), as well as the 4.8-percent decrease in allotments to local government units (LGUs) because of lower Internal Revenue Allotment figures this year as compared to 2011.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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