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PITC returns ₧5.2B to BTr, ₧1.89B to client agencies

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THE  Philippine International Trading Corp.  (PITC) returned a total of P5.2 billion to the Bureau of the Treasury in the first half of the year.

The remittance came after Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III prodded the Department of Trade and Industry last year for its attached agency to return its interest earnings to the Treasury as well as the funds for projects that have not been bid out or for suspension in order to help augment the government’s war chest against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Apart from the P5.2 billion, the Corporate Affairs Group (CAG) of the DOF also said the PITC returned P1.89 billion to its client agencies—the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños, UP System, Department of Health, among others—for projects identified as no longer necessary, and paid P1.82 billion to its suppliers from January to June this year.

Because of this, PITC’s fund balance from different government agencies for various procurement programs amounted to P22.7 billion as of end-June this year, down from P31.6 billion as of the end of 2020.

“Of that P22.7 billion, those are deposits for projects both from the military and civilian government agencies,” Dominguez separately told reporters.

Broken down, the bulk of the fund transfers is for the procurement of various government agencies amounting to P16.6 billion, followed by military procurement at P5.62 billion; the remaining P450 million were savings or funds due to return or interest earned, the CAG said.

After Dominguez wrote Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez last year, the PITC also returned to the Treasury P562.79 million in interest income on December 11, 2020. This is on top of its P562.79-million remittance in May 2020 in the form of dividends. This brings to P1.126 billion the total remittances of the PITC to the Treasury in the form of interest income as of December 2020.

To recall, Dominguez said in his letter last year that the fund balances, considered as trust liabilities of the PITC, amounted to P33.3 billion and P32.6 billion as of the end of 2019 and October 31, 2020, respectively.

The PITC became controversial last year after senators—citing state auditors’ findings—said it is keeping around P33 billion in idle funds from various government agencies’ procurement outlays in an apparent bid to skirt budget requirements to return monies to the Treasury when these remain unspent within the year.

Earlier this month, Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon urged the Department of Finance to check out “unexpended and unused P11.02-billion fund sitting idly” in the PITC, suggesting that it can be tapped for the Duterte administration’s much-needed social amelioration program.

Drilon conveyed his proposal as an alternative after the Commission on Audit flagged the PITC earlier for its failure to return to the Treasury or its source agencies P11.02 billion in unused fund transfers from 2014 to 2020 for the procurement of various projects.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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