Philippines fixing spending bottleneck to grow 6pc
MANILA: The Philippines is accelerating efforts to fix spending bottlenecks and bolster economic growth to more than 6 percent this year, Budget Secretary Butch Abad said.
Officials will recommend to President Benigno Aquino the creation of a unit in key government agencies including transport, health and public works to track progress of projects deemed critical, Abad, 60, said in an interview in Manila late yesterday. The 2014 budget deficit was probably less than 1 percent of gross domestic product, he said, below the 2 percent goal as state spending faltered.
"We're aware of the problem and we are fixing it," Abad said. "These units will make sure that agencies will deliver priority programs on time."
With 17 months left in office, Aquino is seeking to propel expansion to as much as 8 percent this year and next. Bigger state outlays, low inflation and increased spending ahead of the 2016 presidential election will boost the Southeast Asian nation's economy, Abad said.
State spending contracted 2.6 percent in the JulySeptember period from a year earlier, the biggest drop in 14 quarters, data showed. Lawmakers are drafting a bill that will seek to permanently define government savings and specify when they can be used for various projects, Abad said.
The economy expanded 5.3 percent in the third quarter, the weakest pace since 2011. The International Monetary Fund yesterday raised its Philippine growth forecast for 2015 to 6.6 percent from 6.3 percent earlier, even as it made the steepest cut to its global outlook in three years.