Cash utilization rate 99% at end of March

THE National Government’s (NG) cash utilization rate hit 99% at the end of March, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

In a report, the DBM said national and local governments, as well as state-owned corporations, have used P952.65 billion of the P959.74 billion worth of notices of cash allocation (NCAs) issued as of the end of March.

Unused NCAs amounted to P7.09 billion, the DBM said.

The utilization rate is ahead of the pace compared to the 98% posted a year earlier.

NCAs are a quarterly disbursement authority that the DBM issues to agencies, allowing them to withdraw funds from the Bureau of the Treasury to support their spending needs.

By the end of the first quarter, line departments had used 99% of their allotments or P658.87 billion out of the P665.74 billion worth of NCAs.

At the end of March, line departments had utilized P326.62 billion of their NCAs.

Agencies that had a 100% budget usage rate include the Congress of the Philippines as well as the Departments of Agrarian Reform, Education, Energy, Foreign Affairs, and Interior and Local Government.

The Departments of Labor and Employment, Public Works and Highways, Social Welfare and Development, Tourism, and Transportation, as well as the National Economic and Development Authority, also reported 100% budget usage.

Also at 100% were the Presidential Communications Office, the Judiciary branch, the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit, the Commission on Elections, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights, and state universities and colleges.

On the other hand, the Department of Migrant Workers posted the lowest budget utilization rate at 46%.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said increased government spending, especially in infrastructure projects, will help boost gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

Infrastructure spending rose 26.6% to P79.4 billion in February, driven by public works and defense modernization projects, the DBM said in a separate report.

“On top of possible expedited completion of various government projects later this year, preparation for election-related spending in view of the midterm elections in May 2025 or nearly a year from now is another growth driv-er,” Mr. Ricafort said in a Facebook Messenger chat. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz