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Low-spending gov’t agencies ordered to file catch-up plans

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has asked underspending government agencies to file plans to bring their fund usage up to target over the remainder of the year, alongside a broader call for mid-year budget utilization reports and updates on major programs.

“All implementing agencies are directed to submit the fiscal year 2024 budget utilization report as of June 30, specifically the Financial Accountability Report (FAR) No. 1 or the Statement of Appropriations, Allotments, Obligations, Disbursements, and Balances (SAAODB), through the Unified Reporting System (URS),” the department said in a circular dated June 28.

In a specific note directed to agencies with low budget utilization, the DBM said: “(Implementing agencies must) submit detailed catch-up plans for agencies… below 50% of their respective physical and financial targets for the first semester of fiscal year 2024 and identify specific implementation issues/challenges encountered (e.g., procurement delays, regulatory bottlenecks, staffing shortages, among others) causing low utilization/performance rates.”

The SAAODB must be submitted to the DBM and the Commission on Audit through the URS within 30 days after the end of each quarter.

Implementing agencies should also submit a list containing the status of flagship programs and projects covered in the 2023 and 2024 General Appropriations Acts, especially those with significant allocations. These must be accomplished through the attached template in the circular.

The National Government has a spending target of P5.754 trillion this year. As of the end of May, government spending was P2.257 trillion, or 39.22% of the target.

Government offices’ cash utilization rate hit 94% as of the end of May, the DBM has reported, equivalent to P1.78 trillion out of the P1.89 trillion worth of notices of cash allocation (NCAs), leaving P115.55 billion left unused.

The DBM issues NCAs to government offices quarterly, allowing them to withdraw funds from the Bureau of the Treasury for their spending needs.

Cash utilization by the end of May was ahead of the year-earlier pace of 91%. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz