The country’s solid financial footing amid the ongoing pandemic validated the “good work” of the Department of Finance (DOF) as well as the correctness of the reforms and policies it has pursued, the government’s chief economic manager said.
In his presentation before senators of the DOF’s proposed P21.24-billion budget for 2022, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the department’s spending program reflects the current reality of the need to modernize governance to improve the delivery of basic services.
Dominguez said the DOF’s proposed budget also underscored the need for government offices to fast-track their digital transformation for them to thrive in the new economy.
The DOF budget for 2022 consisting of new general appropriations totals P21.24 billion. If automatic (P1.64 billion) and unprogrammed appropriations (P210 million), and the budgetary support for government owned-and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) (P95 million) are included, the total proposed DOF budget for 2022 would amount to P23.18 billion.
Dominguez said that although the proposed P21.24-billion budget of the department increased by 32.7 percent as compared to this year’s approved appropriations of P16 billion, it is still one percent lower than its 2017 budget of P21.5 billion.
“The increase in next year’s funding will be spent for our modernization and digitalization programs to enhance our revenue enforcement capacity,” Dominguez said during the hearing of the Senate finance committee on the DOF’s proposed 2022 budget on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
“These programs will allow us to effectively raise more funds to finance our pandemic response and economic recovery program,” he added.
Dominguez assured senators that the DOF will continue “to be the exemplar of prudence and fiscal discipline. We practice what we preach.”
Senator Sonny Angara, the committee chair, recommended the DOF’s proposed budget for plenary discussion after several questions by some senators.
Dominguez said that on top of its modernization programs, the increase in the DOF’s budget for the next fiscal year is because of the implementation of the corresponding salary adjustments for the employees.
The largest budget allocations of the DOF for 2022 are for the Bureau of Internal Revenue with P10.9 billion, and the Bureau of Customs with P4.35 billion, which will be spent to further improve tax administration and the digital transformation of these two main revenue agencies.
While the Bureau of the Treasury may look like it has the biggest increase in next year’s budget at 96 percent to P4.23 billion in 2022, the bulk of its appropriation is for national government operations.
Only 26 percent of the Treasury’s proposed 2022 budget is for its regular operations.
The proposed budget of the Office of the Secretary is P1.1 billion, which is 30 percent more than its appropriations this year, owing to the increase in its maintenance and other operating expenses.
The OSEC will also improve the Philippine Tax Academy, which is an essential institution that trains all revenue agencies to improve their competitiveness and expertise. This includes the training of municipal treasurers and provincial treasurers.