Irrigation agency got more state subsidy in May hot season
MANILA — Subsidies given away by the national government to state-run firms dropped by almost half to P4.097 billion in May even as the National Irrigation Administration received more amid the summer season, the latest Bureau of the Treasury data showed.
The total subsidy distributed to government-owned and/or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) last May declined 45.2 percent from P7.478 billion during the same month last year.
That month, the NIA received the biggest amount of subsidy amounting to P3.019 billion or nearly three-fourths of the total.
The NIA, which was the GOCC mainly responsible for irrigation development and management in the country, was also the recipient of the largest amounts of subsidy in January and February.
At the end of the first five months, a total of P14.37 billion in subsidies was granted to the NIA, accounting for 55.5 percent of the end-May amount and the biggest to date among GOCCs.
Last year, the NIA was the second largest recipient of GOCC subsidies totaling P16.909 billion, only exceeded by Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) P43.776 billion.
During his campaign, President Rodrigo Duterte had promised free irrigation for farmers.
The NIA was allotted a higher P38.4 billion under the 2017 national budget to not only provide free irrigation but also build new irrigation systems as well as rehabilitate and restore existing facilities.
An additional allocation of P2 billion was intended as irrigation fee subsidy in lieu of the collection of irrigation service fees.
According to reports, the NIA had been collecting P1.8-2 billion in irrigation service fees annually.
In all, GOCC subsidies from January to May reached P25.913 billion, up from P20.547 billion a year ago.
As of the end of May, major non-financial government corporations cornered the bulk or P20.524 billion of the five-month subsidies; other government corporations, P5.056 billion; and government financial institutions, P333 million.
The Governance Commission for GOCCs had said that up to 90 percent of the subsidies that state corporations receive were being spent on programs and projects, while the remainder covered operational expenses.
For 2017, the government had programmed to grant P128.9 billion in subsidies to GOCCs.
Last year, the national government gave away a record P103.2 billion in subsidies. SFM
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