Palace eyes P2.6-T budget for 2015

By Jess Diaz, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 26 2014 10:08 AM | Updated as of Jan 26 2014 06:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino intends to seek a P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015.

This early, the administration has started putting together the proposed spending program for next year. The President submits his annual budget proposal to Congress a day after his State of the Nation Address in the latter part of July.

In a “budget call” memorandum to heads of agencies, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad discussed the general thrusts of the 2015 outlay.

Through the 2015
budget program, Abad said the government would again try to attain inclusive growth through such programs as cash transfers to the poor, K to 12 basic education, universal healthcare, and housing for squatters.

The 2015 budget program would also be designed to help the government steer the economy to growth through infrastructure development, pursue good governance and anti-corruption programs, and minimize disaster risks to prevent loss of life, property and livelihood, he said.

He said projects for the reconstruction and recovery of areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda and other disasters should also be included.

Despite last year’s succession of calamities, Abad said the government remains optimistic that it would attain its economic targets, on which the 2015 budget proposal is broadly based.

Next year’s planned outlay is P341 billion more than this year’s P2.265-trillion spending level.

The administration hopes to fund it with revenues projected to reach P2.337 trillion, leaving a deficit of P285.3 billion, which would be funded through borrowings.

It expects the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs to improve their collection efficiency.

Next year’s P2.337-trillion revenue target is P319 billion more than this year’s projected collections of P2.018 trillion.

The proposed budget assumes a gross national product growth of seven to eight percent, a gross domestic product expansion of 7.5 to 8.5 percent, an inflation rate of two to four percent, a peso-dollar exchange rate of P41-P44 to one dollar, and crude price of $90-$110 per barrel.

Starting this year, the Department of Budget and Management would be doing away with the issuance of the so-called Special Allotment Release Order (SARO), which informs an agency of the amount of funds appropriated for a certain project.

The SARO is the document authorizing an agency to start a procurement or bidding process for a project.

Abad has said starting this year, the budget itself would be the fund release document, on the basis of which an agency can start processes relating to project implementation.