DBM exceeds 2022 budget amid P200B in unprogrammed items

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said funding releases at the end of October amounted to P5.08 trillion, exceeding the P5.024-trillion budget for 2022, with P200.19 billion in unprogrammed appropriations and P45.29 billion in other automatic appropriations helping drive spending over the limit.

The DBM said on Tuesday that the pace of releases in 2022 was well ahead of the year-earlier rate of 97.4%.

Many agencies reported budget utilization rates in the high 90% range just as the previous administration stepped down in June. Much of the spending had been “front-loaded” to the early part of the year as a means of stimulating the economy, and to avoid the spending freeze accompanying the May elections.

The additional spending that caused the budget to blow out consisted of “Other” automatic appropriations include grants and donations and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program, among others.

At the end of October, releases to government agencies and departments amounted to P2.82 trillion or 97.8% of their allotments.

Special Purpose (SP) funds released totaled P389.16 billion, for a release rate of 85.2%.

SP funds include budget support for local government units, the Contingent Fund, the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund, as well as the Pension and Gratuity Fund.

Meanwhile, Automatic Appropriation releases were at P1.58 trillion, representing 93.9% of the total.

These appropriations include P10 billion for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and P2.1 billion for retirement and life insurance premiums of various government agencies.

The 2022 budget is expected to account for 21.8% of projected gross domestic product.

The proposed P5.268-trillion budget for 2023 is 4.86% higher than this year’s spending plan. 

The Senate on Tuesday sponsored next year’s proposed budget out to the plenary. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson