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Gov’t agencies’ cash usage hits 94% at end of Nov.

GOVERNMENT agencies raised their cash utilization rate to 94% by the end of November, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Tuesday.

The National Government, local governments and state-owned firms used 94% of the P4.01 trillion worth of Notices of Cash Allocation (NCAs) issued to them in the first 11 months, leaving P257.94 billion unused. 

The year-earlier usage rate was 91%.

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

Cash utilization increased due to the further easing of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) restrictions earlier in 2022, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

This “fundamentally led to higher budget utilization, accelerated government spending in infrastructure and other government projects before the election ban, and the continued priority on infrastructure spending by the new administration,” he said.

The national elections were held on May 9, preceded by a ban on public works spending starting March 25.

“Earlier approval of the 2023 national budget would lead to higher government spending on infrastructure and other government programs/projects such as social services that would also encourage higher/faster utilization to accelerate economic growth and development,” Mr. Ricafort said.

Last week, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed into law Republic Act No. 11936 or the General Appropriations Act outlining a P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023.

According to the DBM, line departments used 91% or P2.56 trillion of their NCAs in the 11 months, leaving P240.04 billion unused.

The Commission on Human Rights recorded the highest budget usage rate at 99%. Meanwhile, the Department of Information and Communications Technology posted the lowest rate of 67%.

Budgetary support to government-owned companies as well as allotments to local government units were 99% used in the 11 months, out of the P199.168 billion worth of NCAs issued. 

The DBM said funds released to national agencies and local government units hit P5.15 trillion at the end of November, for a release rate of 97.4% on an adjusted budget of P5.29 trillion. 

At the end of November, releases to government agencies and departments amounted to P2.83 trillion, for a utilization rate of 98.2%. — Keisha B. Ta-asan