Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Wednesday he welcomes the plan of Congress to conduct an inquiry on the alleged underspending by the Duterte administration, saying this will be an opportunity for the Finance Department to show that the “bad old days of underspending” was gone.
Dominguez said P571 billion worth of infrastructure spending was recorded in the first nine months of the year.
Dominguez said the P571-billion infrastructure spending was 7.2 percent above target and 46 percent more than the amount spent in the same period last year.
He said the spending figure was matched by improved revenue collections. The total take of the Bureaus of Customs and of Internal Revenue climbed 16 percent in the first 10 months to P2.099 trillion from a year ago, he said.
“This demonstrates that the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Transportation, the two lead agencies in the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program are moving faster than expected. The old problem of absorptive capacity has been solved. The mantra of fast and sure is being observed,” Dominguez said at the opening of the Sulong Pilipinas-Philippine Development Forum at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.
Dominguez said he was “very happy to note that Congress is going to call a hearing on what is perceived as underspending because we would like to inform the Congress and the public that “the bad old days of underspending, which critics faulted the government for moving too slowly in getting the projects done, is now over.”
“Now that we are moving ahead of our spending schedule, we are now being faulted for enlarging the budget deficit, when in fact, we said that our budget deficit is going to be 3 percent of GDP. And we have hit it on target this year, the first time ever in recent history,” he said.
He said the P571 billion for infrastructure in the first nine months was also P225.5 billion or 65.3 percent higher than what was spent in 2015, which was the last full year of the Aquino administration.
The sum of P345.3 billion spent by the Aquino government in 2015 was 20 percent below target, said Dominguez.
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