Congress may have to ‘re-examine the 2019 budget closely’ – Andaya
MANILA, Philippines — Congress may have to “re-examine closely” the proposed P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget during its conference committee meeting, Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said Monday adding that the country’s fiscal deficit “do not look so good.”
In a statement, Andaya, a former Budget secretary, said government disbursements continue to outpace the increase in revenues, which could lead to failure in meeting the country’s deficit ceiling for this year.
“Even the DBM Secretary, Benjamin Diokno, admitted that government’s fiscal deficit for 2018 may fall behind the P523.7 billion target, which is equivalent to three percent of the gross domestic product (GDP),” he added, noting that 2018’s fiscal deficit was only 2.2 percent of GDP.
“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 re-examine the 2019 budget closely during the conference committee with the Senate,” he also said.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed Joint Resolution 3, which extends the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlays (CO)
of the P3.8-trillion 2018 national budget until the end of 2019 to give more spending room for social programs.
Extending components of the 2018 budget means foregoing the Department and Budget and Management (DBM) proposal of having only one expenditure program for 2019 as well as its cash budgeting system, the Camarines Sur congressman reiterated.
But Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has refuted this, saying the country would still push through with cash-based budgeting.
“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 P200 billion,” Andaya said.
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