MANILA (Mabuhay) — Former Budget chief Florencio B. Abad on Wednesday said that contrary to Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno’s estimates, underspending of the Aquino administration would not hit P1 trillion.
“Diokno is assuming that the shortfalls become permanent shortfalls. That is not the case. If not declared as savings and used to augment existing but deficient items of appropriation, the shortfalls get carried over to the succeeding year, and are—at least most of them—eventually disbursed,” Abad explained in a text message.
“That is why I refer to the problem as delayed spending by agencies, not underspending,” Abad added.
Diokno told members of the House appropriations committee last Monday that the Aquino administration supposedly failed to spend a total of about P1 trillion in the past six years.
The Budget chief said he arrived at that huge amount by comparing the authorized appropriations with actual expenditures during the years 2011 until 2016.
But for Abad: “If you want to sum up what is not spent, you should count what is returned to the Bureau of the Treasury. That is the more accurate way of doing it.”
“And without checking the data, I can tell you with confidence that [the unspent amount] will not come to P1 trillion,” Abad said.
Diokno had lamented that the funds unspent by the previous administration reflected lost opportunities that were “huge in terms of jobs lost and economic opportunities if the infrastructure projects were started and completed.” (MNS)