Zaldy Co

Solon wants to augment slashed DTI 2024 budget

August 29, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 171 views

THE House Committee on Appropriations will look for ways to augment the budget for the Department of Trade and Industry, which its proposal was slashed in the 2024 national budget.

According to panel chair Ako Bicol Representative Elizaldy Co, the DTI needs higher budget being the country’s main investment promotion agency.

“If we are really serious in generating more investments and creating better-paying jobs for our people, Congress must ensure that DTI and its attached agencies have the resources to do work properly,” Co said.

“We also have to spend more to develop the products we export as well as train Filipinos to be entrepreneurs; to be job creators, not seekers. If we could do this, we could prevent our people from voting with their feet,” he added.

At the budget hearing last week, DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual lamented the decision of the Department of Budget and Management to set the agency’s expenditure program next year to P7.91 billion, an increase from the spending plan this year but just a third of the DTI’s original budget proposal of P21.03 billion for 2024.

The Office of the Secretary and the Board of Investments were among the biggest losers in the national expenditure program for 2024. DBM cut the Office of the Secretary’s budget to P5.32 billion from the proposed P12.61 billion while the allocation for the BOI was reduced to P659 million from the agency’s proposed P1.85 billion.

Data comparing DTI’s proposal and the budget DBM submitted to Congress also showed reductions in spending for development projects for industry, and for micro, small and medium enterprises, consumer protection programs, Malikhaing Pinoy and establishment of Negosyo Centers.

Pascual said programs designed by DTI to better prepare the economy for newer technologies like artificial intelligence were also left unfunded in the 2024 national expenditure program.