Public infrastructure is key spending area

In a bid to further improve public infrastructure, raise potential economic growth, and reduce poverty in the country, fiscal agencies are pushing for higher infrastructure spending in 2017. This will entail not only allocating more funds to build quality infrastructure, but also linking medium-term plan priorities to annual budgetary considerations.

infra pampanga
File photo: President Aquino during the briefing on major infrastructure projects in Pampanga

Citing a 2016 International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper exploring the macroeconomic effects of improving public infrastructure in the Philippines, Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said, “Closing the gap between planning and budgeting could lead to GDP growth rates between 9 and 11 percent within 15 years.”

“This can be done by prioritizing new programs within the respective budget ceilings of agencies that supports the strategic priorities of the country or the desired outcomes that we want to achieve over the medium term,” said Abad.

Abad added that for medium term planning to be an effective instrument for socio-economic development, it should not be independent of the annual budget process.

[Read: Infra spending in 2016 to boost economic growth]

Officials of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and the Department of Finance (DOF) discussed improving the link between planning and budgeting in oversight and implementing agencies on April 1 at a forum and training session held at the Bayleaf Hotel in Manila.

TRIP

The Three-Year Rolling Infrastructure Program (TRIP)—the pipeline of strategic projects needed to sustain rapid economic growth—was presented during the event. The 2017-2019 projects under TRIP will be rolled out this July. These projects include basic infrastructure services and facilities linked to climate resiliency, competitiveness, agricultural sustainability, governance, security, and bridging gaps in poor, hazard-prone, and emerging growth areas.

Infrastructure expenditures now account for 5 percent of GDP, a figure considered the benchmark for infrastructure spending to sustain growth and attract investments that create jobs.

[Read the full story here]

—From the Department of Budget and Management