House OKs 2021 budget extension, hike in IRA


THE House of Representatives on Monday approved on second reading the proposal extending the availability of the 2021 General Appropriation Act and a bill increasing the current Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of local government units.

Through viva voce voting, lawmakers approved House Bill 10373 and House Bill 10296. These bills are expected to be approved on third and final reading next week.

House Bill 10373, authored by House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Rep. Eric Go Yap, seeks to amend Section 62 of the General Provisions of Republic Act 11518 or the General Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2021.

Yap said extending the availability of the 2021 appropriations until next year would allow the agencies to fully utilize the allocated budget for 2021.

According to Yap, the pandemic curbed the opportunities for socioeconomic growth and development and also disrupted the operations of government, which then caused delay in the release and issuances of budget allocations.

Under the bill, the appropriations for infrastructure capital outlays, including those subsidy releases to GOCCs for infrastructure projects, shall be valid for obligation until December 31, 2022, while the completion of construction, inspection, and payment shall be made not later than December 31, 2022.

On the other hand, appropriations for MOOE and other capital outlays shall likewise be valid for obligation until December 31, 2022, while the delivery, inspection and payment shall be made not later than December 31, 2022.

The bill said the Department of Budget and Management is authorized to issue the necessary guidelines for the effective implementation of the cash budgeting system.

Increasing IRA

The lower chamber also approved House Bill 10296 to increase the current share of the local government units in national taxes  by modifying the current formulation of the IRA.

The measure also seeks to include all forms of national taxes in the computation of IRA and enable local government units to provide better services and create more development projects.

The bill increases the local government share of national taxes from 40 percent to 50 percent—based on the collection of the third fiscal year  preceding the current fiscal year and thereafter.

It also changes the term the internal revenue allotment to national tax allotment of local government units.

The bill amends Section 284 of Republic Act No. 7160, as amended, otherwise known as  the Local Government Code of 1991.

In a separate approval, lawmakers also approved on second reading House Bill 10392, requiring LGUs to earmark at least 15 percent of their national tax allotment share for health services.

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