Philip­pines fix­ing spend­ing bot­tle­neck to grow 6pc

The Pak Banker - - 6BUSINESS -

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.

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