Marathon hearings set for Negocc’s P4-B 2019 budget
THE Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Negros Occidental has set a series of hearings on the proposed P4.002 billion annual budget for 2019.
The August body approved the proposed appropriation on first reading during the regular session yesterday.
Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., chairman of the SP committee on appropriation, budget and finance, said the budget hearing is scheduled on October 22 to 26.
Escalante said this will give chance to the different departments of the provincial government to defend their respective proposed budget as there might be “concerns” on the underutilization of funds.
“We will have to find out if there are problems on the utilization of the budget,” he said, adding that instead of slashing the allocation, they will warn the department to improve its performance to avoid shortfall by maximizing the resources for intended programs and projects.
Currently, the province’s budget utilization is pegged at 70 percent.
Escalante said this is “low” as the utilization by this time is supposed to reach at least 80 percent already.
“So we will see what we can do. Part of our job is to legislate laws that can speed up the implementation of the projects,” he added.
The total proposed budget for 2019 is about 14 percent higher than this year’s allocation which is about P3.5 billion.
Of which, the bulk is earmarked to Personnel Services (PS) at P2.073 billion.
The province is allocating P1.172 billion for Special Purpose Appropriation (SPA), and the remaining budget of almost P756 million is for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE).
After the budget hearing, Escalante said his committee will have to make a report to the SP, which will then approve the proposed appropriation ordinance for second and final reading.
Escalante said they target to have the budget approval by the middle of November so that projects earmarked for next year can already be processed especially in terms of documentary requirements.
“The earlier that we can approve, the better for the province considering that there will be a banning period during the elections next year,” he added.*