The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has said the Aquino administration may front-load at least half of the national budget in the first six months of 2011 to boost the economy and generate more jobs.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga told reporters that the government will accelerate infrastructure and social spending in the first six months of the coming year.
“We will try to accelerate spending next year, especially as the recovery is plateauing,” Paderanga said.
President Benigno S. Aquino III signed last Monday the P1.645-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2011, a 6.8 percent increase compared with the 2010 budget.
Of the total budget, P34.3 billion is allocated for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), largely because of the agency’s P21-billion Conditional Cash Transfer program.
The DSWD ranks sixth among the top 10 government departments with the highest budget allocations under the P1.645-trillion budget.
The Department of Education gets the lion’s share in the 2011 budget with P207.3 billion, followed by the Public Works and Highways, P110.6 billion; National Defense, P104.7 billion; Interior and Local Government, P88.2 billion; and Agriculture, P37.7 billion.
Slightly behind the DSWD budget are the Departments of Health with P33.3 billion; Transportation and Communications, P32.3 billion; Agrarian Reform, P16.7 billion, and the Judiciary, P14.3 billion.
Paderanga said that the government’s front-loading program for next year is expected to sustain the country’s economic growth and create new jobs.
“We’re hoping that the momentum will continue. One of the reasons [of front-loading] is that you would somehow just worry about the softening, because you’ve had a very high growth rate in the first half of 2010,” he said.