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EC loans, electrification projects get lion’s share of P4.9-B NEA proposed budget for 2018

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The National Electrification Administration (NEA) proposed a total of P4.9-billion budget for 2018, majority of which shall be used to fund long- and short-term loans for the electric cooperatives’ (ECs) capital expenditure (capex) requirements and other electrification projects.
This is based on the approved National Expenditure Program (NEP) of the President’s Budget that was presented before the members of the House Committee on Appropriations during a preliminary deliberation on Thursday (August 17).
Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said the DBM-recommended corporate operating budget will allow them to work on the following targets next year:
• energization of 1,817 sitios;
• construction of power distribution lines for resettlement areas in Zamboanga City;
• establishment of a quick response fund during calamities;
• connection of additional 460,000 consumers;
• reduction of system loss to 10.70%;
• collection efficiency of 99%;
• release of P1.7-billion loans to the ECs; and
• realization of a net margin from the agency’s financial operation
“Accordingly, the sitio electfrication level would increase to 86% by the end of 2018 from 83% in 2016,” Masongsong said, adding this could even go up to 89% should the 17th Congress consider expanding their budget to P5.22-billion.
Of the P4.9-billion corporate budget, P1.96-billion will be subsidized by the national government while the remaining P2.94-billion will be sourced from the internally generated funds of the agency.
The state subsidy will be used to finance the remaining sitio electrification projects and the construction of distribution lines in resettlement sites for the victims of natural and man-made calamities including those displaced by the 2013 Zamboanga siege.
Also incorporated in the P1.96-billion are the administrative and operating expenses of the agency, which is pegged at P209-million. This includes the provision for the payment of corporate income tax and remittance of dividends to the national government.
The state-owned corporation tasked to implement rural electrification breezed through the initial budget deliberation process chaired by Davao City Representative Karlo Alexei Nograles and is now preparing to hurdle the same before the Senate on Wednesday (August 23). ###