Congress seeks resolution committing gov't to spending plan

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

July 18, 2022, 6:37 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – Albay Rep. Joey Salceda on Monday said Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno has agreed on the need for a medium-term fiscal plan, which Congress will institutionalize in a joint resolution to help accelerate economic growth and reduce the public debt ratio to 52.5 percent by 2028.

“Secretary Diokno and I have agreed on the need for a medium-term fiscal plan that takes into account revenue as well as expenditure projections until 2028, the end of PBBM’s (President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr.) term,” Salceda told reporters in a message. “I have committed to file the Joint Resolution on the matter, awaiting the incoming Speaker’s instructions.”

Salceda, chair of the House committee on ways and means, said the panel is prepared to provide the needed legislative support for the revenue base under the joint resolution.

He said the medium-term fiscal program will be a "path for revenues" to go from 15.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) to 17.6 percent of GDP; and for expenditures to go from 22.9 percent of GDP to 20.6 percent.

"In other words, the plan will aim to narrow the deficit to just 3 percent by the end of PBBM’s term,” Salceda said. “That, of course, will depend highly on growing our GDP, and outgrowing our debt."

Under the plan, he said the government will aim to grow the real GDP by 6.5 to 8 percent of GDP annually until 2028, and 5 to 6 percent of GDP in infrastructure spending.

“It will commit the government to a set of specific objectives and targets, and will guide the fiscal and spending policies of Congress and the national government," he said.

To optimize growth, Salceda said the government will identify key economic priorities, such as agricultural development, reduction of logistics and transport costs, reduction of energy costs, sound fiscal management, health, education, social protection and government efficiency.

Last week, he filed a joint resolution adopting "Build, Build More" as a national infrastructure development framework to ensure the continuity of the infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

In filing House Joint Resolution 6, Salceda said the Marcos administration has expressed its political commitment to supporting the continuation of the massive infrastructure development program initiated by the Duterte administration.

The resolution proposes the "Build, Build More" program as a national infrastructure development framework, which shall prioritize the completion of infrastructure projects that have been implemented or have been prepared for implementation by the Duterte administration and other previous administrations.

"Proper planning and design, adequate funding, efficient implementation, and timely and effective completion of infrastructure projects will be crucial to economic recovery from the scarring effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the attendant global economic slowdown," Salceda said. (PNA)