By Bernadette D. Nicolas, February 26 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Philippine Star

THE government is eyeing a P4.249-trillion national budget for 2020, as the Philippines continues to ramp up infrastructure spending, economic managers told Japanese business leaders.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said in his presentation at the Philippine Economic Briefing in Osaka on Friday that this is in line with the country’s expansionary fiscal program.

“Given this, we plan to steadily increase the annual national budget from P3.757 trillion [in 2019] to P5.313 trillion in 2022. As a share of GDP, this is a rise from 19.3 percent to 20.6 percent,” Diokno said.

The planned 2020 budget is equivalent to 19.8 percent of GDP.

In 2021, the DBM is eyeing a P4.785-trillion national budget or 20.3 percent of GDP.

Meanwhile, Diokno also said the government had programmed to spend P910 billion on infrastructure for 2019, P1.222 trillion for 2020, P1.542 trillion for 2021 and P1.81 trillion for 2022.

“For 2019, P910 billion has been allocated for infrastructure spending, or 4.7 percent of GDP. We plan to ramp up infrastructure spending to as much as P1.8 trillion or 7 percent of GDP by 2022. By then, we would be able to close the country’s infrastructure gap,” he said.

Cash-based budgeting

THE budget chief also reiterated the need to shift from two-year obligation-based budgeting to annual cash-based budgeting.

Despite the deletion of proposed provisions on cash-based budgeting in the bicameral version of the General Appropriations Bill ratified by both houses of Congress, Diokno last week said they would stick to the new budgeting system.

According to Section 36, Chapter 5, Book VI of Executive Order 292, or the Administrative Code of 1987, “an operational cash budget shall be implemented to ensure the availability of cash resources for priority development projects and to establish a sound basis for determining the level, type and timing of public borrowings.”

The DBM said the shift to cash-based from obligation-based budgeting will hasten the implementation of projects. A cash budget would also reflect “more accurately” the annual outputs and outcomes of the government, according to the DBM.

The proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 has already been approved by Congress but it has yet to reach the desk of the President. Congress is targeting to submit the money measure to Malacañang on March 1.