Oliver Bugarin 7 0 0 5 min to read

In the 2023 budget, DBM is requested to defend unprogrammed money.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) should defend and explain PHP588 billion in unprogrammed appropriations under the proposed PHP5.268 trillion national budget for 2023, according to Deputy Speaker Isidro Ungab on Tuesday.

According to Ungab, this is a “sharp shift” from prior years, when unprogrammed appropriations ranged from 2 to 5 percent of the total projected expenditures in the programmed section of the proposed national budget for the next year.

Even though they are considered “standby appropriations” that were not supported by revenues at the time the budget proposal was submitted by the President to Congress, he claimed that he still views the unprogrammed funds as being included in President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s proposal under the National Expenditure Program (NEP).

Unprogrammed appropriations (UAs), he pointed out, are included in the NEP but are netted out as part of the cash-based budget.

Since unprogrammed appropriations are also regarded as revenue-based expenditures, I think explanations regarding these UAs must be made in light of their potential impact on the national government’s budgetary program or discipline. Therefore, it would be ideal if we could include these UAs in the budget with the appropriate constraints and guidelines, Ungab remarked.

According to him, the standby allocations for the unprogrammed funds are not supported by revenues.

Any expenditure from this fund may only be approved if it is backed by approved loans for foreign-assisted projects, new revenue collections or those resulting from new tax or non-tax sources, and excess revenue collections in any one of the identified non-tax revenue sources from its corresponding revenue collection targets.

He noted that even if the new programs or projects are equally important to or more important than the unprogrammed spending in the General Appropriations Act, the large number of unprogrammed monies may prevent support for future supplemental budgets.

The unprogrammed monies totaling half a trillion pesos, according to Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto, should be itemized.

“It is more than double the PHP251.7 billion unprogrammed fund for the current year, “added Recto.

He said that the “Support to Foreign Assisted Projects” with a planned PHP380.6 billion and the PHP149.7 billion for “Support for Infrastructure Projects and Social Programs” are two of the “unclear and undefined” intents in the 2023 Unprogrammed Appropriations “.

“The unprogrammed money is a component of the NEP, although it is not included in the overall sum. As a result, Recto remarked, every piece of popular budget literature now uses a lower budget threshold.

Recto claimed that while a number of “funding triggers” must be satisfied in order for the unprogrammed monies to be released, the national budget’s approval grants the power to use them.

The projected budget for 2023 has a maximum of PHP5.856 trillion, according to Recto. “Once the latter becomes legislation, it grants the executive standby authority to spend it, provided requirements are met.”

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