MANILA – The Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) will enable the Marcos administration to expand its financing sources, especially for its 194 flagship infrastructure projects, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said Monday.
“Ito pong administrasyon na ito, meron po siyang tinatawag na 194 infra projects. Ito po ay nagkakahalaga ng PHP80 trillion. Ito po hindi natin kayang pondohan lahat (This administration has 194 infrastructure projects amounting to PHP80 trillion. We could not afford to provide funding for all of these),” Pangandaman said in a radio interview with dzRH.
With the establishment of MIF, the government will have another option to fund its infrastructure projects under the “Build Better More” program, Pangandaman said.
She stressed that without the MIF, the projects could only be funded through either government taxes, loans, or private-partner partnerships.
“Ibig sabihin po, meron po tayong isang avenue para po mapondohan ‘yung ibang mga proyekto na nakapaloob dito. Kung ‘yung ibang proyekto dito eh kaya po na ang Maharlika na po ang gumastos para dito sa mga proyektong ito. So mafi-fill up po ‘yung ibang space (This means we will have another avenue to fund other projects. If we tap the Maharlika fund, we will be able to fill up the fiscal space),” she said.
“Kami po sa DBM, any reform o polisiya na makakapag-expand ng ating fiscal space ay welcome news sa atin iyan (We at DBM consider any reform that could expand our fiscal space as a welcome news),” Pangandaman added.
Under Republic Act (RA) 11954 inked by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on July 19, the MIF would be used to invest in a wide range of assets, including foreign currencies, fixed-income instruments, domestic and foreign corporate bonds, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and high-impact infrastructure projects for sustainable development.
The MIF, Pangandaman said, would also allow the government to spend the national budget on human capital development.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan said during the signing the MIF would not affect the proposed PHP5.768-trillion national budget for 2024.
Pangandaman said the printed 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP), which will serve as Congress’ basis for the General Appropriations Bill, will be submitted to Marcos on Tuesday and transmitted to Congress either by Aug. 2 or 3.
She reiterated that the proposed 2024 national budget would focus on priority sectors such as health, agriculture, and infrastructure.
Under the Constitution, the NEP must be submitted to Congress within 30 days after the State of the Nation Address.
The proposed national budget for 2024 is equivalent to 21.8 percent of the gross domestic product and is 9.5 percent higher than this year's PHP5.268-trillion national budget. (PNA)