Gov't spending expected to pick up in second half of 2017

GOVERNMENT spending is expected to accelerate in the remaining months of the year, as the administration is focused on ramping up infrastructure projects during the second half.

“It (Government spending) will pick up in the second half [of 2017],” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told a press conference.

Dominguez said the government is committed to expedite infrastructure development in the second quarter of this year, stressing that “there will be a lot more construction in place.”

“You will see within the next two or three months, the start of projects – improving the Clark Air Base. So that’s starting up. Then, we’re moving up with the Commuter Railway,” he said.

An ambitious infrastructure plan dubbed as the “Build, Build, Build” program has been launched by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to spur the country's economic growth.

The Duterte administration has allotted P847.2 billion for nationwide infrastructure projects this year, higher by 13.8 percent from a year ago.

Dominguez said that in the first year of the President, the Philippines was “fiscally secured.”

“We are on track to meet all targets. We are on our way towards achieving the growth breakout our strategy aspires for,” he said.

“We are ready to fund the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program that will ensure robust growth for the economy and more inclusive growth pattern and dramatic reduction in poverty incidence by 2022,” he added.

Dominguez noted that from July 2016 to May 2017, the government collected about revenues amounting to a total of P2.09 trillion, up by seven percent than the same period in 2016.

He also stressed that the economic managers’ broader strategy is “bearing fruit” after the gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.68 percent during the first three quarters, “faster than all other administrations.”

To further improve the country’s fiscal space, Dominguez said the proposed tax reform package should be passed as it seems to be a measure that would “benefit the far majority of Filipinos and every one of Filipinos and everyone who wants to see the economy grown and benefit them in the coming years.”

Dominguez was elated that the House of Representatives approved the tax reform proposal and expressed optimism that the Senate, which is composed of “reasonable and intelligent people,” would realize that it is a “win-win solution” for the Filipino people.

He said the tax reform measure, if passed into law, could create a “significant fiscal space” amounting to P134 billion in 2018, which can be used for “enhancing infrastructure, housing, education, health, and social protection.”

“Moving forward, the administration and its partners in civil society and the private sector will work hard to ensure that the Senate will pass a package consistent with the administration’s proposal, especially since the President has certified this already as urgent and a priority measure,” the Finance chief said.

“The senators are very reasonable men. They have the good of the country at heart. We have to explain to them and show them in detail what the program really means. And I believe they will be enlightened and as good Filipinos, they will vote for this tax reform,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)

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