PH economic growth a ‘testament to soundness’ of Aquino admin’s fiscal strategy — DBM chief

By , on January 30, 2015

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. Photo courtesy of the World Economic Forum 2014 / Fotopedia
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. Photo courtesy of the World Economic Forum 2014 / Fotopedia

MANILA — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Thursday said the country’s 6.9 percent growth in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2014 was a “testament to the soundness” of the administration’s fiscal management strategy.

“Our improved growth in the last quarter of 2014 is a testament to the soundness of the Aquino administration’s fiscal management strategy. While the first three quarters of the year posed some significant challenges, the progress we made from October to December last year helped expand our full-year GDP (gross domestic product) to within target,” said DBM Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad in a statement.

“News like this is certainly a good way to begin the new fiscal year, with expenditures making a positive showing in the last three months of 2014,” he said.

In the Q4 last year, Abad said, government spending climbed by 9.8 percent, an increase brought about by agencies’ efforts to utilize their NCAs (notice of cash allocations) effectively.

“The improvement of public expenditures was also aided by the timely release of employee bonuses in the last leg of 2014, including the Year-End Bonus and the Productivity Enhancement Incentive (PEI). Together with the increase in public construction, swifter public expenditure helped us overcome the shocks and setbacks that negatively affected last year’s third quarter growth,” he said.

“Of course there is still room for improvement in this regard. That is why (the) DBM has comprehensively released 78 percent of the Php2.606-trillion National Budget at the start of this year in line with the GAA (General Appropriations Act)-as-Release-Document (GAARD) regime,” he added.

Abad said the comprehensive release — which includes 89 percent of all agency budgets — goes hand-in-hand with the passage and approval of the Supplemental Budget last December.

“Along with concrete measures for accelerating spending in 2015, the reforms we’ve made to the budget process will allow us to perform even better over the next 12 months,” he said.

“What’s more, we are committed to spending — with the appropriate legislative participation and input — on high-impact, priority projects that will contribute to growth that is sustained and inclusive,” he added.

The country’s economy rebounded more strongly than expected in the final quarter of last year, posting the best growth in Asia after China on strong farm output and construction activity.

“We in DBM are optimistic that, with important reforms such as these taking deeper root and along with the continued implementation of the ‘Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program’ and the ‘Build Back Better’ philosophy, we will be able to hurdle similar setbacks and challenges we faced this past year in 2015. To this end, we will continue to strive for better management of public funds for the good of the Filipino people,” said Abad.