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Friday, 11 August 2023

Gov't agencies to submit catch-up plans to address underspending 

Stressing the importance of government spending and disbursements to the country’s overall economic growth, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman issued Circular Letter No. 2023-10, requiring agencies to submit “catch-up plans” to facilitate budget execution for the rest of Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.

“Consistent with the objectives of the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework, the National Government shall mobilize and utilize public resources in order to gain the maximum benefits and high multiplier effects for the economy,” DBM Sec. Pangandaman stated in the Circular Letter.

"Given the sizable FY 2023 national budget, government agencies shall execute their programs and projects as authorized in the annual budget and deliver planned results in a timely manner to help buttress robust economic growth," the secretary added.

The DBM issued the guidelines for budget utilization following the latest cash operations report of the Bureau of the Treasury showing that the national government spent below the P2.582 trillion disbursement program for the first semester by P170.5 billion or 6.6 percent as of 30 June 2023.https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

“As what I would always emphasize, we consider budget utilization rates in evaluating the absorptive capacity of agencies. We view low utilization rate as the agency’s limited capacity to utilize new funds. However, those agencies who need to increase their utilization rates have promised to produce catch-up plans during the budget deliberations. So, we hope that their BURs will increase by then,” the secretary said.

The circular letter likewise seeks to ascertain the underlying causes or reasons for underperformance and undertake measures to address them. Government agencies were also instructed to conduct data analysis on a periodic basis for the identification of agency programs and projects with historical trends of low disbursement rates. This is to compare actual performance versus specified measures and targets and identify leading indicators for each program, sub-program and project to signal the need for catch-up plans for delays or underperformance.

Agencies shall then come up with delivery and execution strategies to address actual implementation bottlenecks/ delays of these programs and projects and submit to the DBM the following: latest available financial and physical accomplishments; status of major/flagship programs/projects under FYs 2022 and 2023, particularly those with significant budgetary allocations; and "catch-up plans" to address the bottlenecks and reach their respective physical and financial performance targets for the year.

“These measures are to ensure efficiency in budget utilization to achieve maximum benefits and high multiplier effects for the economy,” Pangandaman explained. Reports will then become the basis of the DBM for the release of the balance of programmed appropriation and revision of plans/targets, as necessary. (DBM/PIA-Caraga)