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Infrastructure spending rises in Nov.

A worker is at a construction site in Quezon City, April 27, 2021. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING rose by 38.4% in November as the government ramped up the completion of public works projects, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

Data from the DBM released on Tuesday showed spending on infrastructure and other capital outlays jumped to P80.2 billion in November from P58 billion a year ago.

Month on month, infrastructure spending increased by 31.1% from the P61.2 billion in October.

“The significant expansion was propelled by the completed and partially completed projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) nationwide such as construction, improvement, repair and rehabilitation of roads, bridges and flood control structures, as well as the construction of multipurpose buildings,” the DBM said.

Capital expenditures related to various projects under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program of the Department of National Defense (DND) also raised infrastructure spending during the month, it added.

In the 11 months to November, infrastructure spending went up by 14.3% to P869.2 billion from P760.4 billion in the same period a year ago.

The DBM said that it expects to surpass its target spending for the full-year 2022 on the back of releases for priority expenditures.

“While the actual full-year 2022 fiscal performance data will still be released between February to March this year, the government is upbeat on the higher public spending in 2022 and its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), particularly through public construction, transfers to local government units, and subsidies to households,” it added.

Based on the latest Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) report, the government indicated that infrastructure spending may have reached P1.23 trillion in 2022, a tad higher than the P1.199-trillion full-year program.

The higher infrastructure spending is mainly due to the economy’s continued reopening, analysts said.

“The increased infrastructure spending also benefited from the further reopening of the economy towards greater normalcy, with no more COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) restrictions so far towards the end of 2022, as manifested by the optional wearing of face masks since the latter part of October, thereby allowing the faster rollout/progress of the country’s various infrastructure projects,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

ING Bank N.V. Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa said infrastructure spending was expected to continue rising in December.

“We continue to see the positive impact from the economic reopening post lockdowns. We could see another strong performance in December. The true indicator, however, for growth momentum will have to be shown this year as base effects are washed out,” he said in a Viber message.

The government plans to spend at least 5-6% of GDP on infrastructure. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

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