Gov't to tighten purse strings amid fuel tax hike suspension: Diokno

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 18 2018 09:08 AM | Updated as of Oct 18 2018 09:25 AM

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MANILA - The government will cut down on some expenses amid the suspension of the second round of higher excise tax on oil, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Thursday.

The finance department last week announced the suspension of the fuel tax hike, originally scheduled next year, to keep inflation in check. The government stands to lose P41 billion with the move, economic managers had said.

The government could save funds by delaying the purchase of vehicles for public officials, limiting their travel through teleconferencing, refraining from holding events at posh hotels, and cutting down on the water and utility bills of offices, said Diokno.

"Magtitipid talaga," he told radio DZMM.

(We will be really frugal.)

However, it would be "lazy and wrong" to implement across-the-board budget cuts without putting priority for the funding of certain programs, he said.

The "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure drive and programs on education, health and social protection will be spared from potential funding cuts, he said.

The world prices of fuel are expected to go down by the second quarter of 2019, which would tame inflation, said Diokno.