Gov’t to release P100.1B to pump prime economy
BACOLOD CITY—The government will release before the end of the year P100.1 billion for infrastructure projects to pump prime the country’s economy, Undersecretary Mario Relampagos of the Department of Budget and Management said.
Of the amount, P2.8 billion was released for infrastructure project in Western Visayas on Thursday.
Relampagos said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) planned to disperse P100.1 billion to spur economic growth.
“So if we can achieve 6 or more percent growth for the last semester of the year on top of the 4.3 percent growth in the first semester of the year, well be averaging an about 5 percent growth for 2011, said Relampagos.
Relampagos was in Bacolod for the 20th Visayas Area Business Conference and Expo at L Fisher Hotel.
He told reporters there was a slowdown in government spending in the first semester of the year, not because of lack of funds but because the projects in the pipeline needed to be reviewed.
Relampagos pointed out that each department reviewed the project in compliance with the policy of President Aquino that “we have the right projects with the right quality, right price and the right timing.”
By reviewing the designs and costs structure of projects, they now cost less, enabling government to save money for the implementation of more projects, he added.
“We have just met with the President and heads of big departments of government on how to accelerate spending for the rest of the year,” said Relampagos.
“If the private sector knows that the government is spending, it will have a favorable reaction that will hopefully create a multiplier effect that will result to faster growth,” he added.
Relampagos said the Department of Agriculture would also release about P10 billion for farm-to-market roads before yearend, while the Department of Transportation and Communication will have its own releases.
Frank Carbon, president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the release of government funds was needed to pump prime the economy.
But he said the funds should have been released in the second quarter since the release of P100.1 billion for infrastructure projects could not be done in three months.
With the rains, he added, infrastructure work cannot be undertaken that fast.