DBM targets digitalized budget releases by Q1

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THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it hopes to digitalize the process of releasing funds to government agencies by the first quarter.

The release documents covered by the digitalization initiative are the Special Allotment Release Order, the Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA), and the Notice of Organization, Staffing and Compensation Action.

The DBM is seeking to upgrade the efficiency of its processes and record-keeping, Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman told the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday.

“During the cabinet meeting, the President said he’s also pro-digitalization to reduce the cost of doing business,” Ms. Pangandaman said.

“When the second version (of the draft budget) came out, we adopted most of the agencies’ digitalization programs. We have provided more than P300 billion for the digitalization program of the different National Government agencies,” she said.

Ms. Pangandaman said the DBM has recently signed a deal with three government servicing banks to implement the online release of the NCA.

She added that digitalization will reduce spending on paper, printing, supplies, and transportation, doing away with the physical claiming of documents by agency representatives.

“Just with the NCA, if we start next year, we will save at least P33 million on the printing and the cost of paper,” Ms. Pangandaman said.

The online release of the NCA will be carried out through the DBM’s Action Document Releasing System (ADRS).

The ADRS is a web-based application that facilitates the release of approved DBM documents in digital format directly to authorized users of recipient agencies.

She said the DBM is also investing in cybersecurity to insulate the system from illegal use.

“If there’s a digitalization effort, there’s a higher investment in cybersecurity… but I think at the end of the day, the savings that we will realize from all the digitalization efforts are advantageous for the National Government,” Ms. Pangandaman said.

She said she is  also confident that the government will achieve its 6-7% gross domestic product target for 2023.

Ms. Pangandaman said that while the Development Budget Coordination Committee lowered its target range for next year, the goal is to steer the economy back to a “high-growth” trajectory in line with the medium-term fiscal framework.

This will be achieved via the reopening of the economy and the promotion of growth across all industries. — Keisha B. Ta-asan