Gov’t budget utilization hits 99% at end of June

GOVERNMENT agencies raised their cash utilization rate to 99% at the end of June, up from the 97% rate posted a year earlier, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

The DBM said the National Government, local governments and state-owned firms used P2.01 trillion of the P2.033 trillion in notices of cash allocation (NCAs) issued to them in the first half of the year, leaving P24.22 billion unused.

NCAs are a quarterly disbursement authority from the DBM issued to agencies, allowing the latter to withdraw funds from the Treasury to support their spending needs.

“This may have to do with the election year to optimize budget utilization as needed to accomplish (and) complete more government projects and programs,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

“Furthermore, some government spending especially on infrastructure could have been rushed before the election ban on some public works,” he added in a Viber message.

Line departments used 98% or P1.39 trillion in NCAs released to them as of June.

Those recording a utilization rate of 100% were the Office of the Vice-President, and the Departments of Education, Foreign Affairs, Health, Interior and Local Government, National Defense, Public Works and Highways, and Transportation.

The Joint Legislative-Executive Councils, the Judiciary, the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit, the Commission on Elections, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Human Rights also posted a 100% utilization ratio.

In June, the Department of Social Welfare and Development announced the distribution of the first batch of cash aid intended for an initial 1.2 million Filipino households amid the rising costs of fuel and other commodities. The subsidy under the Targeted Cash Transfer program amounts to P500 per month for six months.

The DBM released P4.68 trillion or 93.2% of this year’s P5.02 trillion spending plan as of June.

In the same period last year, the DBM had released P3.83 trillion or 85.1% of that year’s P4.51-trillion budget. — Diego Gabriel C. Robles