MANILA House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. on Monday said there is a need reexamine the 2019 national budget due to the country's fiscal deficit.
In a statement, Andaya said the government disbursements continue to outpace the increase in revenues, noting that the government may fail to meet its deficit ceiling for the year even as both revenues and spending are growing beyond their respective targets.
Andaya cited Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who said the 2018 fiscal deficit may fall behind the PHP523.7 billion target, which is equivalent to 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Fiscal deficit was only 2.2 percent of the GDP last year.
Given this development, it is time we realize that the proposed 2019 national budget prepared by DBM is out of touch with reality. We may have to reexamine the 2019 budget closely during the conference committee with the Senate, Andaya said.
We are walking on tightrope and we need a really good balancing act. The DBCC (Development Budget and Coordination Committee) insists on a smaller contractionary spending program, yet the government needs to spend more just to catch up with inflation, he added.
Andaya lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing the joint resolution extending the life of the 2018 budget for another year to give more spending room for social programs
Extending the life of the 2018 budget for next year means foregoing the DBM proposal of having only one expenditure program for 2019. In effect, we will now have two sources of spending for Fiscal Year 2019: the 2019 budget and the savings of 2018, which could reach to about PHP200 billion, Andaya said.
No matter how you spin it, the people on the ground are already feeling the economic pinch and an unresponsive economic plan can lead to people's unrest, he added. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency