Press Release
September 8, 2023

Government needs to spend more to pump prime the economy -Gatchalian

Senator Win Gatchalian said the government should come up with a strategic catch-up plan that would enable government agencies to spend their budget allocations faster in order to pump prime the economy.

Gatchalian made the call noting that the country's slower 4.3% economic growth in the second quarter of the year was brought in part by the government's underspending. Government spending contracted by 7.1% in the second quarter of 2023 from a year earlier.

"It's forgivable if the headwinds were coming from the outside such as a slowdown in the growth of China or the Ukraine invasion. But looking at the components of our GDP growth, government spending is something that we can control. However, we're not spending fast enough and it affected our growth," he bewailed.

"We are talking about increasing the budget by 9% but we cannot even spend as quickly as possible and it affected our growth," Gatchalian told members of the executive branch's economic team during a Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) briefing at the Senate on the proposed P5.768 trillion national budget for 2024.

Gatchalian also questioned the government's plan to catch up on its spending to help propel the domestic economy to grow by at least 6.6% in the second half of the year so that full-year GDP expansion could reach the 6% target.

"This catch-up plan, are these hard commitments by implementing agencies or just loose conversation? Because if it's a written document, I would like to see that written document," Gatchalian said.

In response, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman replied that the budget department has already issued a circular directing all government agencies to submit by September 15 this year their respective catch-up plans to address bottlenecks and reach their respective financial targets for the year.

"Submit to us the document so we can push them to spend faster. We want to push the different agencies to implement faster because it's affecting the entire economy," he told the Budget Secretary.

Gatchalian also took note of the delay in payments that the government is supposed to make, including payments for state universities and colleges.


Kailangang gastusin nang husto ng gobyerno ang pondo nito para lumakas ang ekonomiya -Gatchalian

Sinabi ni Senador Win Gatchalian na kailangang magsagawa ng isang strategic catch-up plan ang gobyerno na magbibigay-daan sa iba't-ibang ahensya nito na gastusin nang mas mabilis ang kanilang mga alokasyon sa national budget upang palakasin ang ekonomiya.

Ang suhestyon ni Gatchalian ay kasunod ng mabagal na 4.3% economic growth na bunsod ng underspending ng gobyerno. Ang paggasta ng gobyerno ay bumaba ng 7.1% sa ikalawang quarter ng taon mula noong nakaraang taon.

"Mas maiintindihan natin kung ang mga naging balakid ay external factors tulad ng pagbagal ng paglago ng China o ang pagsalakay ng Russia sa Ukraine. Pero kung ang dahilan ay ang mabagal na paggasta ng pondo, pwedeng pwede nating itong magawan ng paraan dahil ang paggasta ay isang bagay na maaari nating makontrol. 'Yun nga lang, hindi naman tayo gumagastos nang sapat at naapektuhan nito ang paglago ng ating ekonomiya," aniya.

"Pinag-uusapan natin na itaas ang pondo ng national government ng 9% ngunit hindi naman natin ito ginagasta nang mabilis kaya apektado nito ang paglago ng ekonomiya," ang sabi ni Gatchalian sa economic team sa nagdaang briefing ng Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) sa Senado.

Inusisa din ni Gatchalian ang plano ng gobyerno na humabol sa paggasta ng natitirang pondo ng bansa upang lumago ang lokal na ekonomiya ng humigit kumulang 6.6% sa ikalawang bahagi ng taon upang maabot ang 6% na target para sa buong taon na GDP expansion.

Bilang tugon, sumagot si Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman na mayroon nang inilabas na circular ang budget department na nag-uutos sa lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno na magsumite pagsapit ng Setyembre 15 ngayong taon ng kani-kanilang plano para matugunan ang mga bottleneck at maabot ang kani-kanilang financial target para sa taon.

"Gusto nating itulak ang iba't ibang ahensya na mas mabilis na magpatupad nito dahil ito ay nakakaapekto sa buong ekonomiya," sabi ng senador sa Budget Secretary.

Napansin din ni Gatchalian ang pagkaantala sa mga pagbabayad na dapat gawin ng gobyerno, kabilang ang mga pagbabayad para sa mga unibersidad at kolehiyo ng estado.

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