Duterte plans to lift 2018 govt spending by 12.4 pct


Posted at Jul 04 2017 02:06 PM | Updated as of Jul 04 2017 08:18 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte plans to hike state spending 12.4 percent next year to a record 3.77 trillion pesos ($74.6 billion), his spokesman said on Tuesday, in line with his aim to spend heavily on infrastructure to keep growth robust.

Duterte, who has been in office one year, has vowed to usher in the "golden age of infrastructure" and spread wealth more evenly in the country of more than 100 million people.

The anticipated 2018 budget compares with this year's 3.35 trillion peso spending plan and would be equivalent to 21.6 percent of gross domestic product, spokesman Ernesto Abella told a briefing.

Abella did not state a revenue target for 2018. The government has said it plans to keep the country's budget deficit at 3 percent of GDP in the medium-term.

The government has programmed a $180 billion spending spree on infrastructure during the president's six-year term to create jobs, lift economic growth to as high as 8 percent, and attract foreign investors turned off by high power prices and transport bottlenecks.

To fund the ambitious program, the government has asked Congress to approve a tax reform bill, which would raise excise taxes on fuel and automobiles, among others.

The Philippine economy grew an annual 6.4 percent in the first quarter, among the fastest in the region on strong domestic consumption and exports.