MANILA: Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman urged all government units to utilize at least 80 to 90 percent of their 2023 budget allocations.
Pangandaman made the call in a taped interview with SMNI News Saturday night, as she acknowledged that government underspending remains a problem.
"This is what I always say. Even if we have a small budget, we always tell our secretaries, our colleagues from the national government, what's important is to use it, utilize the money because otherwise, if you don't utilize this, it's just there. The money just sits there," Pangandaman said.
Agencies should ensure enough spending of their 2023 funds before they ask for a hefty budget for next year, stressing that government agencies should meet the budget utilization threshold of 80 to 90 percent.
Government agencies with low budget utilization rate would either "use" or "lose" their respective funds, Pangandaman said.
She also urged all agencies to ensure early procurement and implementation of their projects.
To address the perennial problem of underspending of public funds, Pangandaman said the government is pushing for the passage of the bill institutionalizing the cash-based budgeting system (CBS) which was adopted by virtue of Executive Order 91 issued in 2019.
Pangandaman said the CBS aims to fund only the "implementation-ready" projects.
On Jan. 27, Pangandaman said the proposed 2024 budget would cover only "implementation-ready" programs of government agencies, the key feature of the CBS.
Pangandaman also noted the DBM would look into the government agencies' previous budget utilization and performance, as part of the evaluation process.
The DBM is expected to come up with the budget framework by April.
Amendments to procurement law
Pangandaman likewise emphasized the need to amend the 20-year Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA) to make the process "more efficient."
She said the government is set to release its proposed procurement amendments by mid-2023.
"The GPRA is already 20 years, I think, so it's really high time to amend. I hear a lot of concerns from the national government and even from our legislators that maybe we should look into it and let's file an amendment, perhaps, just to make it more efficient with what's happening now. So, that's what we're going to do," Pangandaman said.
"There's an ongoing consultation now with our GPBB (Government Procurement Policy Board). Hopefully, by mid of this year, we'll be able to present something," she added
Source: Philippines News Agency