DBM urges early procurement, digitalization to use up budget

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said early procurement and a bigger push for digitalization projects will help ensure the timely spending of this year’s budget.

 “For this year, what’s important to note is that the 2024 budget (has all of the Secretaries) priority projects and programs,” Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said during the Philippine Economic Briefing on Monday.

Republic Act No. 11975 or the 2024 General Appropriations Act includes a provision for early procurement, enabling government agencies and offices to bid out their projects on time, Ms. Pangandaman said.

Early procurement is also a feature of the proposed New Government Procurement Reform Act, which is awaiting the signature of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.

If changes to the procurement law are enacted, “agencies can bid out their projects by the time we issue the national expenditure program to Congress,” Ms. Pangandaman said.

“That will give them time to actually bid out their projects and by the time we have the General Appropriations Act,” the procurement process will be further along, she said.

Ms. Pangandaman also noted the available funding to digitize most government transactions.

“We expect those will increase efficiency in terms of government spending and implementation of their projects,” she said.

The government’s cash utilization rate hit 99% at  the end of the first quarter, the DBM said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Pangandaman asked Congress to approve the Budget Modernization bill, the proposed Public Financial Management measure, and the rightsizing bill to ensure efficient spending and financial management. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz