By Beatrice M. Laforga, August 22 2019; Business World

Image Credit to Business World/Official Gazette

THE Department of Budget Management (DBM) said it proposed that the President issue an executive order extending the deadline to complete capital outlay items to make up for the delay in approval of the 2019 national budget.

“Our proposed EO (executive order) is only for extension for (capital outlay) payments,” DBM Acting Secretary Wendel E. Avisado said during the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) 2020 budget briefing at the House of Representatives Thursday.

Mr. Avisado said the request for an executive order is being reviewed by the Office of the President.

He also clarified that the extension request was only for the payments and not the extension on capital expenditure which he said will require Congressional approval.

“Appropriations for infrastructure, capital outlays, including subsidies to GOCCs for infrastructure projects shall be valid for obligation until the end of this year or Dec. 31, 2019, in accordance with section 65 of the General Appropriations Act of 2019, while the completion of construction, inspection and payments shall not be made later than Dec. 31 of next year.”

Meanwhile, Antique Rep. Loren B. Legarda said the delay in passing the budget caused the non-release of some appropriations and that their validity should be extended until next year.

Ms. Legarda’s House joint resolution no. 9 seeks to amend Section 65 of Republic Act No. 11260 or the General Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2019, to extend the validity of maintenance and other operating expenses and capital outlay appropriations until Dec. 31, 2020.

Infrastructure and other capital outlay disbursements fell by 11.7% year on year to P311.4 billion in the first half, missing a P392.9-billion target for that period by a fifth.

The government operated on a reenacted 2018 budget until mid-April when the President signed this year’s P3.662-trillion national budget. He also vetoed P95.3 billion worth of spending.

Economists and economic managers have blamed the budget impasse for the slower-than-expected 5.5% economic growth in the second quarter.

The economy will have to grow an average of 6.4% in the second semester to hit the lower end of the 7-9% growth target for 2019. — Beatrice M. Laforga