- Philippines suffered economic losses worth P464 billion early 2019 due to the delay in the enacted national budget for 2019.
- A lawmaker advised the Department of Budget and Management to submit the National Expenditure Program to give both houses of Congress enough time to deliberate on the proposed budget of each government agency.
- The spending plan for 2020 is worth P4.1 trillion, higher than the P3.7 trillion budget in 2019.
MANILA, Philippines—The country lost over P464 billion in the past six months due to the delay in the enacted national budget for 2019, a lawmaker bared Thursday.
“The budget delay cost the country almost P465 billion in foregone revenues which slowed down the economy,” Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero told reporters in a briefing.
Romero said that this amount is equivalent to P77.2-billion loss per month, brought by the four-month delay in the approval of the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) just last April.
The projected gross domestic product growth of 6.4 percent registered a four-year low of 5.5 percent for the first half of the year.
To avoid a repeat of the consequences of this delay for the incoming year, Romero called on the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to submit the proposed National Expenditure Program on July of each year to give Congress enough time to analyze the budget proposal prior to its approval.
“Economically, the repercussions of the delayed budget passage [are] too heavy for the country that a repeat should be avoided,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte had passed the 2019 budget but vetoed P95.3 billion worth of “unconstitutional insertions” even after both chambers of Congress rallied for separate versions of realignments which went on for months and had led to a reenacted budget earlier this year.
The proposed P4.1 trillion budget for 2020 is 9.1 percent higher than the 2019 GAA of P3.7 trillion.
Proposals of over 20 agencies, including the Presidential Communications Operations Office (P1.63 billion), the Judiciary (P37.65 billion), the Department of Finance (P17.29) and the Office of the Ombudsman (P3.087 billion) have already been approved in the House plenary as of Thursday.
The Philippine Congress is seeking to approve its version of the 2020 budget before they go on a break on October 4. Lawmakers have imposed a deadline upon themselves to finish the budget scrutiny as early as possible to have the money measure signed by the President before the year ends.
Source: The Manila Times